Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa

This is truely a wonderful film on Mother Teresa, I have watched many times and enjoy it each time that I do, I give it two thumbs up and my blessing. -- Excerpts of INRI

Renowned English actress Olivia Hussey has spoken of her delight at being chosen to play Mother Teresa of Calcutta in a new television series
for Italian TV,  produced by Lux Vide.  It was shown around the time of the beatification of the world's most famous nun, October 2003.

Mother Teresa by Catholic Artist Mark Sanislo

By Catholic Artist Mark Sanislo

"For 20 years, I have dreamt of having this role, and I knew that Mother Teresa would not have been displeased," said Ms Hussey.

"I never met Mother Teresa, but I spoke to some of the sisters of her order: the light on their faces has impressed me greatly."

And now, at the age ofOlivia Hussey as Mother Teresa 52, she is to play the champion of the poor in this new Italian production that has been filmed in Sri Lanka and Italy

Olivia Hussey Movie Trailer as Mother TeresaHer performance was received with open arms by the Sisters of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity when it was screened for them in Italy.  Also present at the screening and pleased with Olivia's portrayal was Agi Bojaxhiu, a wonderful lady and the niece and only direct living relative of Mother herself.

Hussemadre teresa moviey is the daughter of Catholic parents, but practices a non-confessional religion, and believes in a spirituality that has no bounds of faith or race.

"Every day I pray at least one hour. I prayed also for Pope John Paul II when I saw him ill, at the World Youth Day in Canada," she said.

"For me, Mother Teresa was the mother of all, and knew how to speak to everyone with simplicity and infinite tenderness. She incarnates my concOilivia Hussey as Mother Teresaeption of the true religion: that which opens the heart and comes close to human beings."

The film, which will be shown in two parts, begins in Calcutta in the 1950s, with Mother Teresa still teaching. It shows how the meeting with a poor dying man caused her to change her life and eventually found the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.

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Synopsis: THmadre teresaE STORY IF INDIA IN THE LATE 1940S. British rule has come to an end, but the new Indian finds no peace. Civil war breaks out among the Hindus and Muslims, murderous confrontations that rage with particular intensity in Calcutta.

Wracked by social problems that overwhelm the authorities, Calcutta buckles under the growing despair of the weak, the sick, the forgotten. But in the midst of all this misery stands one nun who is following her calling to help the poorest if the poor: Mother Teresa.

This calling brings endless struggles, and Mother Teresa must challenge many authorities, including her church. But with support of some visionary frends and passionate young nuns, Mother Theresa succeeds in founding her own missionary order.

madre teresa confession

Golden Globe Award-Winning Actress
Olivia Hussey As

"A Life Devoted to the poor,
the sick, the forgotten"

"One of the Most Significant Personalities of the 20th Century"


Directed by
Fabrizio Costa  

Writing credits
Massimo Cerofolini   
Francesco Scardamaglia   

Cast (in credits order) 
Olivia Hussey ....  Mother Teresa
Sebastiano Somma ....  Father Serrano
Michael Mendl ....  Van Exem
Laura Morante ....  Mother Cenacle
Ingrid Rubio ....  Virginia/Agnese
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Guillermo Ayesa ....  Perier
Carlo Cartier  
Valeria Cavalli  
Enzo De Caro ....  Nicholas (as Enzo Decaro)
Emily Hamilton ....  Anna
Nimmi Harasgama  
Neil Stuke ....  Kline
Ivan Venini ....  Jesus

Running Time: 180 mins

`Lord, make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, may I bring love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Oh, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
 not so much to be understood as to understand;
not to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
 it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.'
- St. Francis of Assisi
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madre teresa Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa Mother Teresa DVD

Messenger of Saint Anthony
God & I: Olivia Hussey
Messenger of Saint Anthony

God & I: Olivia HusseyWorld acclaimed actress, Olivia Hussey, talks about the challenges, both technical and spiritual, of being in Mother Teresa’s shoes, and reveals to our readers the difficulty in combining work with motherhood

By Mario Conte, OFM Conv

YOU ONCE SAID that to impersonate Mother Teresa was a dream you had been cherishing for twenty years. Why is that?
For twenty years I dreamed of playing this incredible lady because in the last century I don’t think there is a more beautiful person. I have great admiration for her because she didn’t just talk, she put her words into action and she loved everybody to the point of seeing the face of Our Lord Jesus in every person she helped. I think that if we tried to love one another and emulate what she stood for, the world would be a mmadre teresa penciluch better place. Now more than ever does the world need prayer.

How can an actress of great experience and talent like yourself manage to act out, and hence simulate, grief and suffering without falling into the trap of affectation and cold technique? In other words, how did you manage to put soul and heartfelt feeling into your interpretation of Mother Teresa?

Well, I have to tell you that I’m not like the typical actress. I do a lot of prayer, a lot of contemplation. My mother was a devout Catholic. I grew up with a mini-altar at home that she had, a candle was always alight on it. She always had a great love for God and she instilled that in me.

Every morning I wake up and say “God, this day is for you, help me to be the best person I can and to conduct myself appropriately. I give this day to you in my heart,” and then I go about my business. I think that helped me to feel close to the role of Mother Teresa. I did pray every single day on that set. We worked under very difficult conditions and I kept reminding myself “If the situation is so difficult for us, imagine what it was like for Mother Teresa.” She overcame everything; she went into the streets of Calcutta, which I have visited and which are like no other streets I have ever seen.

She went out with something like 5 rupees and began a congregation of nuns which continues to do selfless work in helping the poorest of the poorMadre Teresa. She is an inspiration to all of us. It’s a great honour that I’ve had, and then on top of it, I get to meet the Holy Father. Just think, my life is complete! I wish my mother was alive because she would be so proud.

In order to impersonate Mother Teresa, you carefully collected as much information you could and you even went to the point of meeting those who knew her. Who is Mother Teresa for you now?
She’s a light of goodness, an inspiration to me. I try every day to see the God inside of people, but sometimes it’s very difficult. Her work continues, which is very important, and there is no other woman from the last century who has touched me that much.

India is a country with an animistic religion and full of spiritual masters of all kinds. What trace do you think Mother Teresa has left in this chaotic Indian society?
Well, they treated her as the Mother of India, they loved her very much because she was a woman of action. I think that she is already a saint for them.Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa

We all think of her as a saint, because anybody who can do what she did is a saint to us simple people. India will never ever have another woman like that. I have met Sister Nirmala and she is an incredible lady as well. All of the Missionaries of Charity are beautiful human beings, they live out her words every day of their lives. I’m just humbled by this whole experience; it’s been something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

What were your feelings in seeing your Mother Teresa beatified at Saint Peter’s on Sunday, 19 October?
I’m completely honoured. When the smiling, wrinkled face of Mother Teresa was unveiled on a tapestry hanging from the façade of Saint Peter’s Basilica, I started to cry. I was sitting next to her niece, Agi Bojaxhim, and I just couldn’t believe it. I started to cry and buried my head in my hands. It was the dream of a lifetime for me.

You received a benediction from Pope Wojtyla himself before starting to play your role of Mother Teresa and then, on the 20th of October, the day after the beatification, you were able to meet and greet the Holy Father personally. What does this pope mean to you?
He’s an incredible man. I think he has done so much good and he focuses so much on the young, I truly love the pope. I think he has served 25 incredible years, and I pray every day for his continued health. His picture is in my house.

Pope John Paul II hMadre Teresaas always claimed that his favourite film is Jesus of Nazareth, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. In that film you played the Virgin Mary. What are your memories of that experience now, after twenty-five years?
I was 27 at the time and it was very difficult for me because I had to leave my son Alexander behind for eight months while we shot. It was very hard on me but Morocco and Tunisia were not places to take a three-year-old boy, especially when I had to work 14 hours a day. I remember the crucifixion scene in particular.

I had always thought it was going to be moving but I didn’t realise it was going to have the effect it had on me. It was a very profound experience; it was almost too much for me to bear. I can’t imagine how Jesus could have died for our sins on the cross that way.Olivia Hussey as Madre Teresa

Imagine, I’ve played Juliet, I’ve played the Virgin Mary and I’ve played Mother Teresa. I can’t think of anybody luckier. I pray and thank God every day. It was difficult work but of course, as with everything, I did my very best and I prayed to God for the guidance to play it as simply and as honestly as I could.

In 1988 you were in one of Pope Wojtyla’s plays and impersonated the character of Therese in the film The Jeweller’s Shop. You worked with Burt Lancaster and Ben Cross in that film. What are your memories and impressions of that experience?
There was a wonderful representative from the Vatican there, Mons. Januz Pasierb who has passed away. He was a Polish priest and we had a wonderful time. We used to laugh and giggle a lot, and I was always aware that I was doing a role that the Pope himself had written, and to me that was an incredible honour.

The saddest thing was that, when I was invited to come to the Vatican at the time they were screening it for the Pope, they gave me 24 hours notice and I couldn’t find anyone to look after my second boy, Max, who was only four. I couldn’t come on such short notice and so I didn’t get to meet the Pope and I was always so sorry that I hadn’t met His Holiness; so this time my dream came true!

Who is GMadre Teresaod for you? How can you define Him?
God is love. God is in the smile of every person, in every good deed that we do. We always have a choice – everybody in this world has a choice – you can choose to do wrong, or you can choose to do right. Everything in this life passes and we all end up in a little box, no matter who we are, and what we take with us when we go, is the way we conduct our lives and what we do in our lives; nothing else matters but our love and our search for God, whatever our God may be. I respect all religions because I think they all lead to the same God.

Madre Teresa a pencil in Gods handsYou are a well affirmed actress, but you also have a family with three children. What sacrifices did you have to sustain in order to raise a family without denying yourself to your children and husband?
It was very difficult because I often had to travel and I had to leave my sons, Alexander and Max, behind with my mother or my brother. It was a lot of work and then when I had my daughter, India Joy, who is now nine, I decided that the work would have to go. I just didn’t want to work until she was four years old. When I go to work now I take my husband and my daughter with me. I don’t want to travel without them. A family has to be together to stay together.

Looking back on your past life, would you repeat the experience of becoming a film actress? Was there ever any moment in which you were tempted to give up?
Not really. I wanted to be an actress since I was four. I think everybody has a destiny. I’m not very good at other things. I cook well but I’m not a great cook; I don’t do business; I’ve had this great love of acting all my life, so I think this is what God wants from me. And I try to do it well.

Olivia Hussey as Mother TeresaAfter Mother Teresa, which was the fulfilment of one of your dreams, is there any other film or character you would like to play?
Goodness me, I really have not thought about it. Mother Teresa had been something dear in my heart for twenty years. I’m in God’s hands, really. Every day I say “Thy will be done, God. Whatever is my destiny, whatever’s meant to be.” My friends come to my house and say “You’re house looks like a church!”

I just love spiritual things. So I give my life to God every day. I try to love God above everything and the rest will unfold. My dream after playing Mother Teresa was to meet the Holy father, and I’ve done that. And also I’ve met Sister Nirmala, so my life is complete.

BBC NEW on Mother Teresa TV movie

Sri Lanka hosts Teresa bio-pic
By Frances Harrison
BBC correspondent in Colombo
Wednesday, 15 October, 2003,

Mother Teresa by Olivia HusseyAs the Catholic Church prepares to beatify Mother Teresa on Sunday, a new film on her life is being shot in Sri Lanka.

The Italian production, which will be shown in two parts, begins in Calcutta in the 1950s, with Mother Teresa still teaching.

It shows how the meeting with a poor dying man caused her to change her life and eventually found the Order of the Sisters of Charity.

Mother Teresa is being played by the 52-year-old actress Olivia Hussey, who says she always dreamed of this role.Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa

"When I heard they were making a
production I went down on my knees and I prayed; it sounds corny but it's the truth," she says.

Four days later, the script to Mother Teresa arrived with an offer.

Beauty within

Ms Hussey says her ambition is to make a film the nuns who knew Mother Teresa would approve of.madre teresa

She says a previous film prompted them to walk out in protest just five minutes into the screening.

She has to play Mother Teresa from her 30s to her 70s - aided by a false nose and aged by plenty of eye make-up.

"They thought maybe I was a little too attractive to play it," Ms Hussey explains, adding "though I happen to think she was incredibly beautiful because beauty comes from within".

On set in Sri Lanka, there is a plethora ofMadrea Teresa - Olivia Hussey languages - English, Sinhala, Italian - as the crew struggles to prepare for the next shot.

Many of the scenes are filmed in a purpose-built "City of God" - the community established by Mother Teresa in Calcutta.

It has been constructed in a real slum on the edges of a rubbish dump - the acrid stench of burning plastic adding authenticity.

For one scene, Fort Railway Station in Colombo was emptied of commuters on a quiet Sunday to be transformed into Calcutta half a century ago.

Peace dividend

The producers decided to film in Colombo rather than Calcutta because they said the crowds were more controllable.

"I always consider Sri Lanka a kind of diluted India," says Chandan Ratnam, head of Film Location Services, which managed the local end of the production.

Mother Teresa is the first big international film to be shot in Sri Lanka for many years.

Attracted by last year's civil war ceasefire, the producers felt the security situation had improved.

Mr Ratnam says he has had several inquiries from film companies wary of other Asian locations.

Sri Lanka now hopes to promote itself as an ideal island location - with beaches, jungles and mountains all within easy reach.

The benefits are huge; international films can promote tourism, create hundreds of jobs and help train the local film industry.

Twenty years of civil war kept Sri Lanka off the movie screens and it is hoping to capitalise on that now.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/10/15 16:52:09 GMT


Movie Links

Olivia Hussey web site

Blue Star Movies Ltd.
 A European film company

Lux Vide Productions Italy - English

Links on Mother Teresa

Official Site of the Cause of Canonization







Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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