A reader wrote to tell us he has had a difficult time finding the first-class stamp with the beautiful portrait of a smiling Mother Teresa on it.
The stamp was issued on Sept. 5, 2010, in honor of her 100th birthday, and he had been buying it for several months.
The reader’s main post office in a large Southern city was out of the stamps and hadn’t reordered, he was told, because the stamps weren’t selling well.
But then he did find one suburban town that had a moderate supply. The postal employees expressed sadness that the Mother Teresa stamp would be discontinued.
I was told by a U.S. Postal Service stamp specialist that there will be no more printings.
But there is good news. Patrons can still purchase the stamp a) at post offices with supplies left, or easier yet, b) order them directly from the USPS nationwide office either via phone [(800) ASK-USPS; that’s (800) 275-877 or (800) STAMP-24] or online (at USPS.com, click “Buy Stamps”). For $1, your postal carrier will deliver them to you.
The stamp is an easy way to do a bit of evangelization. The recipient or someone along the delivery route might see that reminder of the faith and that can give them a moment’s reflection or offer their spirit a needed boost.
One glance at the stamp should be enough to brighten anyone’s day and remind them, Catholic or not, of the living example she was of the two great commandments given us by Jesus.
But don’t stop with the Mother Teresa stamp. How about adding two others to your stamp collection?
The USPS website has a first-class Kate Smith stamp too (issued last May). The stamp pictures Smith’s iconic singing of God Bless America. That patriotic and religious song is beloved by many Americans.
Smith was a convert to Catholicism. For 25 years she worshipped at Catholic churches. Then, in 1965, she entered the Catholic faith at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid, N.Y. She is buried at St. Agnes.
Father John Yonkovig, the current pastor at St. Agnes, chatted with me about using the stamps.
“It’s a way of remembering those who live their faith well,” he said. “The more we could circulate these inspiring people, the better it is.” Seeing the stamps, people can ask questions that turn into “a very positive, inspiring conversation.”
Father James Kane, the pastor of St. Patrick Church in Ravena, N.Y., likes the idea too. He knew Smith during his first parish assignment 40 years ago at St. Agnes, then kept in touch with her the rest of her life.
When he mailed out invitations for his 40th anniversary, the envelopes were stamped with Smith’s stamp.
“She was an active parishioner and came to Mass every Sunday,” Father Kane told me. “She was a very loyal Catholic and was a delightful human being.”
Father Kane, who is a stamp collector and member of the Kate Smith Commemorative Society, reflected: “In our terrible age of computers and emails, stamps still send a nice kind of personal message. When you get a message with Mother Teresa on it, you’re going to give it a bit of extra attention.”
The USPS still offers a Madonna and Sleeping Child stamp, originally issued for Christmas. Why not use this stamp every season of the year?
What’s more, as Father Kane concluded: “If folks in the U.S. Post Office get the message religious stamps are popular, they will do them more often.”
Register staff writer Joseph Pronechen is based in Trumbull, Connecticut.