On Thursday, October 25, Washington National Cathedral held a special service of Choral Evensong to dedicate a carving of Mother Teresa located in the Cathedral’s Human Rights Porch. Sculpted by Chas Fagan and carved in place by Cathedral stonecarver Sean Callahan, this depiction of Mother Teresa completes a set of mould termination stones–carvings set on either side of the archway over a portal–with a companion carving of Rosa Parks. The Human Rights Porch has been dedicated to “individuals who have taken significant, profound, and life-changing actions in the fight for human rights, social justice, civil rights, and the welfare of other human beings.”
The Rev. Dr. Samuel T. Lloyd III, ninth Cathedral dean and now priest-in-charge at Trinity Church in Boston, gave the homily during Evensong and participated in the dedication; the carving had been designated “in thanksgiving” for Lloyd’s ministry by the Cathedral Chapter, citing his advocacy for compassion and other ideals associated with Mother Teresa during his years as dean. Other participants included the Rev. Msgr. V. James Lockman, rector of the Church of the Annunciation in the District of Columbia.
Dean Gary Hall offered remarks after the formal ceremony, recognizing all the participants and specially praising Fagan and Callahan for their craftsmanship. “Thanks to Chas and Sean,” he said, “two of the greatest women of the twentieth century become part of the very fabric of this spiritual home for the nation—a place where shared memories of our struggles and ideals can endure for centuries to come. Mother Teresa’s service to the poorest of the poor recognized the dignity of every human being. Rosa Parks emphasized that, with that dignity, must come equal rights. It’s only fitting that they look across from each other now, as part of a doorway through which we all must pass.”
The carvings of Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa join those of Archbishop óscar Romero, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and former Cathedral Dean and Bishop of Washington John T. Walker. The ribbed vaulting converges above the porch in another carving, a half boss, inspired by the prophet Amos’s call “to let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” (5:24).