Thursday, May 22, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mother Teresa Is Not Amused


NASHVILLE - A cinnamon bun bearing the likeness of Mother Teresa may be a miracle for the local coffeehouse merchandising it, but the world's most famous nun finds it in poor taste.

In a personally signed letter from Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa asked Bongo Java coffeehouse to stop merchandising its now-famous "nun bun."

"My legal counsel . . . has written asking you to stop, and now I am personally asking you to stop," she wrote in a letter dated March 25 and received this week by owner Bob Bernstein.

But Bernstein said yesterday that he has no plans to shelve Nashville's latest pop icon.

"I don't think we're doing anything in bad taste," Bernstein said. "If she saw the fun and good spirit in which we're doing things, I think she'd appreciate it."

The bun is on display at the coffeehouse, which also sells T-shirts, prayer cards and mugs with the bun's image. The only concession the shop has made is to remove Mother Teresa's name from the merchandise.

The episode began in October when a customer was preparing to bite into a cinnamon bun and recognized a likeness of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun in the folds of the flaky pastry.

Coffeehouse workers shellacked the bun and enshrined it in a counter display. It has since made world news.

Attorney Jim Towey said Mother Teresa saw a story about the bun in a newspaper in India.

"Mother has a great sense of humor and appreciated the story about the bun - until it got commercialized," said Towey, of Tallahassee, Fla.

"I'm sort of surprised they want to make a buck off her when she's asked them not to," Towey said.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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