A miniature replica of the Indian nation flag balances alongside books on Mother Teresa in a gift shop on the eve of the canonization of Mother Teresa in Rome, in Kolkata on September 2, 2016. / AFP / Dibyangshu SARKAR
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Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in multi-cultural Skopje -- then part of the Ottoman Empire and now capital of the Republic of Macedonia -- Mother Teresa had an ethnic Albanian mother whose family came from Kosovo.The squabble exposes old ethnic rivalries in the Balkans, with neighbors Albania and Macedonia taking competitive pride in the Nobel Peace Prize winner -- both countries have statues, roads, hospitals and other monuments in her name.Teresa made four short visits to her hometown before her death in 1997, and Bozinovska said the nun was a symbol of "cultural unification" in Macedonia, where about a quarter of the population today is ethnic Albanian.Macedonia's ethnic tensions were highlighted by an Albanian insurgency in 2001, and Albanians complain that monuments to the nun are inscribed in Macedonian and English, ignoring a key part of her identity. As for Teresa, she was quoted describing herself both as a "Skopjanka" and as an Albanian "by blood", but insisting she belonged to the world.Renata Kutera Zdravkovska, director of Skopje's memorial house, said it was clear nationality meant little to Teresa.
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