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Mother Teresa Plans Trip

Mother Teresa, back at work after months of illness, intends to fly to Rome this week to begin a project to rehabilitate sex workers, a close associate said Sunday.

It will be the first trip abroad for the 86-year-old Roman Catholic nun since a bout of illnesses that kept her mostly confined to a bed or wheelchair.

She also plans to travel to Poland and later to Washington and New York City to visit her Missionaries of Charity centers.

“I’m looking forward to it. It would certainly be beautiful and graceful to be at the Vatican,” Suneeta Kumar, a volunteer at the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, quoted Mother Teresa as saying.

Details of her project with sex workers in Rome were not immediately available.

Mother Teresa will be accompanied by Sister Nirmala, who was elected in March to succeed her as head of the order. Mother Teresa, inner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, began the Missionaries of Charity in 1947: Today it has more than 4,000 nuns and runs 517 orphanages, homes for the poor, AIDS hospices and other charity centers.

Mother Teresa will leave for Rome on Thursday, where she will meet with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. She will receive the final vows from novitiate sisters undergoing training at her Missionaries of Charity centers in Rome and Poland.

She underwent her third angioplasty in December and also has been treated for kidney and lung problems recently.

Her progress has been “fantastic,” according to Ashish Kumar, her physician. Her kidneys are functioning well and her blood pressure and pulse rates are steady, he said. However, she is on medication and has to use an oxygen cylinder twice a day.