Mother Teresa Honored on U.S. Stamp

Sep 05, 2010, 15:15 ET from U.S. Postal Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With this 44-cent stamp, the U.S. Postal Service today recognized Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.



The stamp was issued during a special ceremony held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation's capital.

Noted for her compassion toward the poor and suffering, Mother Teresa, a diminutive Roman Catholic nun and honorary U.S. citizen, served the sick and destitute of India and the world for nearly 50 years.

"Often, stamps are referred to as a nation's 'calling cards' because they reach a national, and even an international audience," said Postmaster General John Potter in dedicating the stamp. "They focus attention on subjects our country regards with respect and affection, and that is certainly true of Mother Teresa, who believed so deeply in the innate worth and dignity of humankind and worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. That's why today I am so very proud that our country, after making her an honorary citizen in 1996, is honoring Mother Teresa with such a lasting memorial."

When Mother Teresa accepted the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize — one of her numerous honors and distinctions — she did so "in the name of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the lonely," and convinced the organizers to donate to the needy the money normally used to fund the awards banquet. Well respected worldwide, she successfully urged many of the world's business and political leaders to give their time and resources to help those in need. President Ronald Reagan presented Mother Teresa with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the same year she began work on behalf of AIDS sufferers in the U.S. and other countries.

In 1997, Congress awarded Mother Teresa the Congressional Gold Medal for her "outstanding and enduring contributions through humanitarian and charitable activities."

Joining Potter in dedicating the stamp were James H. Bilbray, member, Board of Governors, U.S. Postal Service; Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio of the United States; The Most Rev. Barry Knestout, auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese of Washington; Reverend Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; Sister Leticia, MC, provincial superior, Missionaries of Charity; and, Mitzi Betman, vice president, Corporate Communications, U.S. Postal Service. Mother Teresa stamp artist Thomas Blackshear II, was also in attendance.

Mother Teresa died in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), India, on Sept. 5, 1997, and is buried there. She was a citizen of India since 1948.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress awarded Mother Teresa honorary U.S. citizenship. The honor has only been bestowed on six others. Winston Churchill received it in 1963, Raoul Wallenberg in 1981, William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn in 1984, the Marquis de Lafayette in 2002 and General Casimir Pulaski in 2009. With the exception of Hannah Callowhill Penn, each of these figures has also appeared on a U.S. postage stamp:  the Marquis de Lafayette four times (1952, 1957, 1976, and 1977), William Penn in 1932, Churchill in 1965 and 1991, and Wallenberg in 1997. General Pulaski was honored on postage in 1931 and 1979.

The stamp features a portrait of Mother Teresa painted by award-winning artist Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, CO.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at a local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Mother Teresa Stamp

Special Cancellations

PO Box 92282

Washington, DC 20090-2282

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 5, 2010.

How to Order First-Day Covers

Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first day of issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic Catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment

Dept. 6270

U.S. Postal Service

PO Box 219014

Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Philatelic Products

There are four other philatelic products available for this stamp issue:

  • 465161, First-Day Cover, 82 cents.
  • 465165, Digital Color Postmark, $1.50.
  • 465191, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
  • 465199, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $10.95

To learn more about the Postal Service's Stamp Program, visit

Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at

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SOURCE U.S. Postal Service