Miami tries to shut Mother Teresa soup kitchen. Allows it.

April 8, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Miami tries to shut Mother Teresa soup kitchenApril 06, 2013: Thirty-three years ago, Mother Teresa of Calcutta came to Miami to put her merciful motto of love into action: “To serve the poorest of the poor.”

Since then, each morning a group of sisters of the congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, donning their distinctive white blue-bordered saris, passes through the gates of their beloved Overtown convent — where they live without air conditioning, washing machines or television — and cross the street to enter the world of the poor: a soup kitchen founded by Mother Teresa.

On a recent morning, following the Liturgy of the Hours prayer inside a tiny chapel with the image of Our Lady of Fatima, the sisters, accustomed to listening to candid words from grateful men, woman and children, found a notice of violation with a potential property lien from a City of Miami Code Enforcement inspector posted on an electrical pole.

Apparently the sisters had never obtained a permit for feeding — for free and without using public funds — hundreds of homeless who see in their eyes the universal symbol of compassion and dignity represented by Mother Teresa.

“What kind of violation are we doing?” asked convent superior Lima Marie. “Taking care of the homeless and feeding them is a violation?”

The sisters felt intimidated because the notice ends with a threat: operating “a business without all required licenses is illegal under state and city law and is punishable by criminal arrest and/or closing the business.”

With such aggressive language, it is obvious that city government shows no respect toward these religiously devoted women and lacks the basic sensitivity to differentiate between a business without a license and charity work.

“We are not doing any ‘business’ here. We are in ‘business’ of the good,” the sister superior told me in a rare interview. The missionaries shy from the public and the press because they have taken vows of humility and poverty.

“For us,” she continued, “the only mission is to quench the thirst of Jesus on the cross by laboring for the salvation and sanctification of the soul.”

After the City of Miami issued a violation to the Missionaries of Charity for “operating a business without a license,” a lawyer providing legal support said he is confident the city will withdraw the notice.

“The city has full knowledge” of the sisters’ work and has given them “numerous approvals over the years,” attorney Tom Equels told CNA April 4.

“Sometimes they forget so I’m going to do my best to remind them.”

– miami herald

Nuns Allowed to Continue

Miami, April 05, 2013: The soup kitchen of Miami’s Missionaries of Charity will keep feeding the poor despite its lack of a permit, city officials said.

Days after the city accused the mission, founded 30 years ago by Mother Teresa, of not obtaining proper permits to distribute food, several city officials announced the operation would not be shut down, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

“I’m not going to close that place. They will have the certificate of use they need by Monday,” Miami Code Compliance Director Orlando Diez said.

A warning was sent by the city to the nuns of the mission, the newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported, earlier in the week, but Thursday a lawyer working on behalf of the nuns delivered documents to the city of Miami showing a special permit was obtained in 1982 to carry out their work, The Miami Herald said.

“The activities of the nuns and the mission will not be interfered with,” said lawyer Tom Equels, who represents the mission with his wife Laura. “It’s very important to both of us that the mission, and the purpose of the mission, established by Mother Teresa, be honored or continued.”

The city issued its warning after some neighbors who live in the nearby Claude Pepper Tower, a public housing complex for the elderly, complained about the lines of homeless people who wait outside the mission every day.

“What many people do not understand is that it gets very aggressive, that there are 300 people blocking the sidewalk, and that many residents of Claude Pepper are afraid of the homeless,” said Commissioner Wifredo “Willy” Gort, who represents the area.

– upi

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