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While recovering from tuberculosis, a consecrated missionary who had been teaching geography in a High School in Calcutta heard her vocational calling. Though already a member of the Sisters of Loretto, Sister Teresa had received an unmistakable request from the Lord: live and work among the poorest of the poor. Despite not knowing where or how she would accomplish His order, she obeyed.


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For many, even in the Church, the Catholic practice of beatifying and canonizing is an enigma. Why does the Church do it? According to the UN, in Tanzania, and throughout East Africa, albinism is prevalent, with estimates of one in 2, people being affected by the condition. So far this year, attacks against albinos have increased dramatically in Tanzania. One that leads ignorant and uneducated people to carry out horrendous acts.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay is urging the Tanzanian government to bring those responsible to justice. The UN human rights chief states that successful prosecutions are extremely rare in Tanzania. Out of the 72 murders of people with albinism documented since , only five cases are reported to have resulted in successful prosecutions. Yes, Adam Bemma, I would love to meet and interview Ms.

Mganga and perhaps I will when I visit Tanzania in A very well written article, which I enjoyed reading. In spite of her acceptance of natural family planning, she would never under- stand those who felt with a moral conviction equal to hers that the world might be a better place if it were less populated. Nonetheless, a few individuals and groups in India and in the West publicly questioned whether she deserved the award.

For the most part, the Indian press was thrilled with the selec- tion of Mother Teresa, a naturalized Indian citizen, for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

Mother Teresa (Modern Peacemakers) | Louise Chipley Slavicek |

In serving the poor and the sick, her sole objective is to influence people in favor of Christianity and, if possible, to convert them. Missionaries are instruments of Western imperialist countries — and not innocent voices of God. One of the last things that impoverished and densely populated nations like India needed was a crusade against family planning, they asserted.

In her Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Mother Teresa denounced artificial contraception and identified abortion as the single great- est threat to peace in the contemporary world. In sharp contrast, her critics insisted that overpopulation and the poverty, competition for scarce resources, and the political instability that it can spawn seriously undermine world peace. Therefore, they said, responsible continues 74 Mother Teresa continued private charities and governments alike in Third World nations ought to promote rather than discourage family planning practices and strive to make birth control services available to all citizens.

She only thought in terms of fighting poverty through individual moral reform by encouraging people to be more generous and loving, and less materialistic. Identifying the fundamental social and economic causes of poverty and using that knowledge to reform inequitable social, economic, and political structures did not interest her. This line of criticism did not faze Mother Teresa in the least, however.

To be able to love the individual, we have to come into close contact with him or her. If we wait until we get the big numbers, we will lose ourselves in the numbers and will never be able to show this love and respect for the person. Every small act of love for the unwanted and the poor is important to Jesus. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, , p. New York: Crossroad Publishing, , pp. More than a quarter of a century later, Mother Teresa became the first recipient of the award who had not been born in India. Her entire life has been a personification of service and compassion.

These are the impera- tives of human existence which are generally affirmed in words but denied in actions. Tak- ing advantage of the political and social chaos spawned by the ongoing Muslim- Christian violence, the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO , a group dedicated to the creation of an inde- pendent Palestinian state in Israel, put down deep roots in Leba- non.

In response to increased terrorist raids on Israel from Lebanese soil, during the summer of , the Israeli army launched a major offensive against PLO bases located on the soil of their northern neighbor. From the head of the Red Cross delegation in East Beirut, she heard about a group of mentally and physically disabled children in predominantly Muslim West Beirut who desperately needed help.

The boys and girls had become stranded in their bomb-damaged asylum and were rapidly running out of food and fresh water. At the damaged asylum, she discovered more than 60 terrified and hungry children, many of them with severe physical and mental handicaps. Francis of Assisi was famous for his compassionate concern for others. Despite warnings from her physicians, however, she refused to cut back on her grueling schedule, which included a great deal of international travel to found new houses, check on those already established, and lecture before a variety of religious and charitable organizations.

Mother Teresa met with the patients at the urging of a local doc- tor who was dismayed by the extreme prejudice that AIDS suffer- ers, most of whom were gay men or intravenous drug users, were forced to endure. You both have your cases to make and your people to care for but first please listen to the One who came into the world to teach us peace. Please listen to the will of God. God has created us to be loved by His love and not be destroyed by our hatred.

In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread but that never can nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life which your weapons will cause. I come to you in the name of God, the God that we all love and share, to beg for the innocent ones, our poor of the world and those who will become poor because of war.

They are the ones who will suffer most because they have no means of escape. I plead on bended knee for them. In , the Soviet government allowed Mother Teresa into the USSR for the first time ever, so that she could meet with the survivors of the devastating nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl.

By the early s, the Missionaries of Charity had established houses in the Soviet Union, Hungary, in our power to protect and love them. I plead to you for those who will be left orphaned, widowed, and left alone because their parents, husbands, brothers and children have been killed. I beg you please save them.

I plead for those who will be left with disability and disfigurement. I please for those who will be left with no home, no food and no love. Please think of them as being your children. Finally I plead for those who will have the most precious thing that God can give us, Life, taken away from them. I beg you to save our brothers and sisters, yours and ours, because they are given to us by God to love and to cherish.

It is not for us to destroy what God has given us. Please, please let your mind and your will become the mind and will of God. You have the power to bring war into the world or to build peace. I, my sisters and our poor are praying for you so much. The whole world is praying that you will open your hearts in love to God.

You may win the war but what will the cost be on people who are broken, disabled and lost? I appeal to you — to your love, your love of God and your fellowmen. In the name of God and in the name of those you will make poor do not destroy life and peace. Let the love and peace triumph and let your name be remembered for the good you have done, the joy you have spread and the love you have shared. Indianapolis: Alpha, , pp. Albania held a special place in Mother Teresas heart, not only because it was the land of her ancestors but also because it was the poorest country in all Europe.

They quickly discovered that they had much in common. After embracing the diminutive nun and placing a garland that had originally been meant for him around her neck, Pope John Paul prayed in the mother house chapel before setting off for Mother Teresa s home for the dying at Kalighat. For nearly an hour, he toured Nirmal Hriday with Mother Teresa, blessing the dying men and women and even helping to feed those residents who could still eat. This place represents the profound dignity of every human person.

The attractive and fashionable young princess had been the darling of the international press ever since her wedding to Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, in July Diana was widely admired by the press and public alike, not only for her beauty and sense of style but also for her devotion to a variety of charitable causes.

When Diana and Mother Teresa were both invited to speak at the International Congress for the Family in London in , Mother Teresa was delighted to have the opportunity to meet the philanthropic princess.

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She announced: I am coming to Britain to meet Princess Diana. I do not really have the time but I must be there. Everywhere there is a need for giving and Diana has more influence over the British people than anybody else. If she tells them how important it is to make their families strong they will listen, if she asks them 84 Mother Teresa Mother Teresa walks with Princess Diana after receiving a visit from her on June 18, , in New York.

The two women first met in , when Princess Diana made a special stop to meet Mother Teresa in the Roman hospital where she was recuperating following a bout of illness. So I must speak to her while I have the chance. On the spur of the moment, though, the princess decided to make a stopover in Rome on her way home from Calcutta, so that she could speak with Mother Teresa in person at last. By all accounts, there was an instant rapport between the two women.

Over the next several years, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana remained in close contact. When Dianas marriage to Charles ended in , Mother Teresa told an interviewer that she loved the year-old princess as a daughter. Although she had consistently backed the official Church stance against divorce in the past, Mother Teresa was prepared to make an exception in Dianas case. Diana is such a sad soul. She gives so much love but she needs to get it back. You know what? It is good that it is over.

Nobody was happy anyhow. Indeed, many people were starting to refer to Mother Teresa as nothing less than a living saint. The pope toured Nirmal Hriday with Mother Teresa, on a day that the nun later described as the happiest of her life. Mother Teresas problems began in May , when she shocked the membership of the International Association of Co-Workers by suddenly disbanding the lay organization founded 25 years earlier by Ann Blaikie.

She also felt that the association had become top-heavy with administrators and had lost its original simplicity The organization had played a vital role over the years in supporting the Missionaries of Charity, through the labor of its members and through the large sums of money they raised for the order.

Consequently, tens of thousands of International Asso- ciation of Co-Workers members were both puzzled and bitterly disappointed when Mother Teresa announced her intention to dissolve their organization. This one centered on a 30 -minute film about Mother Teresa entitled Hell s Angel , which aired on British television in November In addition, Hitchens blasted Mother Teresa for condemning all use of contraceptives, despite the Third Worlds soaring popu- lation, and for providing substandard medical care to patients in her homes for the dying.

Public response to the program was swift and angry. Most viewers were outraged by what they considered an unfair and biased attack on a woman who had accomplished so much good in the world. They condemned the film as offensive, sensational- ist, and misleading.

Nonetheless, there were those in the public and the press who commended Hitchens for at least having the nerve to open a discussion regarding someone who had previ- ously been considered to be untouchable. In November , after suffering a near-fatal heart attack, she informed her Sisters that she could no longer continue as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity. Choosing a replacement for their dynamic and beloved founder proved a lengthy and difficult process for the delegates from around the globe.

Nirmala had converted from Hinduism to Christianity soon after graduating from a Catholic convent school at age On August 26, , Mother Teresa, by now almost entirely bedridden, observed her eighty-seventh birthday in the mother house in Calcutta. Not quite a week later, the untimely death of Princess Diana in an automobile accident prompted Mother Teresa to make what was to be her final public statement. The two nuns are shown in a photograph from March , shortly after Sister Nirmala was declared the new Superior General.

As news of Mother Teresas death spread throughout the world, religious and secular leaders rushed to pay tribute. Congress, which only a few months earlier had granted her its prestigious Gold Medal, observed a moment of silence in Mother Teresas honor. Even as other Catholic religious orders struggle to bring in new members, the order that Mother Teresa founded in continues to attract novices from all over the globe. As of the early twenty-first century, about 5, Missionaries of Charity nuns and brothers operated nearly missions in countries.

Supported entirely by private dona- tions, these missions include leprosy, AIDS, alcohol, and drug treatment centers; homes for the dying; orphanages; schools; and shelters for the homeless and battered women. As during her lifetime, Mother Teresa remains a powerful symbol of love, hope, and peace for people of all back- grounds. According to religious scholar and journalist Kenneth L. Woodward: Although [Mother Teresa] was a Roman Catholic, her simplicity and manifest concern for the dying, the abandoned and the out- cast transcended boundaries of religion and nationality.

I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus. During the last years of her life, many people referred to the diminutive nun as a living saint. On October 19, , more than , people jammed into St. The city of Calcutta was offi- cially renamed Kolkata in by the government of West Bengal. These interviews were used to deter- mine whether she had consistently exhibited the core virtues of a saint: faith, charity, hope, justice, humility, sound judgment, moral strength, and temperance.

The Vatican researchers also sought proof of one posthu- mous miracle, a necessary prerequisite for beatification. Since her death, many people had contacted the Catholic Church, claiming to have been miraculously healed after praying to Mother Teresa. After the Vatican reviewed all the petitions, it chose to officially recognize as a miracle the claim of an impover- ished Bengali woman named Monica Besra. All were committed to serving the desti- tute, the ill, and the unwanted. But we will always know from their actions whether they are at his disposal or not.

After the ceremony, Mother Teresa would be known as the Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata, one step away from sainthood. We may not judge or condemn. The only thing that counts is that we love. In the process, she became one of the most celebrated and admired Nobel Peace Prize laureates — and individuals — of the twentieth century. And we read that in the Gospel very clearly — love as I have loved you — as I love you — as the Father has loved me, I love you — and the harder the Father loved him, he gave him to us, and how much we love one another, we, too, must give to each other until it hurts.

It is not enough for us to say: I love God, but I do not love my neighbor.


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  • How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live. And so this is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. We have been created in his image.

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    We have been created to love and be loved. He makes himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one — the sick one — the one in prison — the lonely one — the unwanted one — and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home. I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just 94 Appendix put them in an institution and forgotten maybe.

    And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door.

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    And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sis- ter and I asked: How is that?


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    • How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see — this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody.

      Are we there, are we there to receive them, is the mother there to receive the child? I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why — why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child takes back to the street and gets involved in something.

      We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace, but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing — direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child — I will not forget you — I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God.

      And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible — but 95 Appendix even if she could forget — I will not forget you. And today the greatest means — the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here — our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother.

      And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child — what is left for me to kill you and you kill me — there is nothing between. Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted. And today is the end of the year, have we really made the children wanted?

      I will give you something terrifying. So every hour of the day and night it is always somebody, we have quite a number of unwedded moth- ers — tell them come, we will take care of you, we will take the child from you, and we will get a home for the child.

      For Pope Francis, Mother Teresa is model of mercy at work, fueled by prayer

      And we have a tremendous demand from families who have no children, that is the blessing of God for us. And also, we are doing another thing which is very beautiful — we are teaching our beggars, our leprosy patients, our slum dwellers, our people of the street, natural fam- ily planning. The poor people are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. The other day one of them came to thank me and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning.

      Because it is nothing 96 Appendix more than self-control out of love for each other. And I think they said a beautiful sentence. And these are people who maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home where to live, but they are great people. The poor are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition — and I told the Sisters: You take care of the other three, I take care of this one that looked worse.

      So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: Thank you — and she died. I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself, I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more — she gave me her grateful love.

      And she died with a smile on her face. As that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for. And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything.

      Like an angel — this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry — I was naked — I was homeless — I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for — and you did it to me. I believe that we are not real social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world.

      For we are touching the Body of Christ 24 hours. We have 24 hours in this presence, 97 Appendix and so you and I. You too try to bring that presence of God in your family, for the family that prays together stays together. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world. There is so much suffering, so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do.

      It is to God Almighty — how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving. And with this prize that I have received as a prize of peace, I am going to try to make the home for many people that have no home. Because I believe that love begins at home, and if we can create a home for the poor — I think that more and more love will spread. And we will be able through this understanding love to bring peace, bring the good news to the poor.

      The poor in our own family first, in our country and in the world. I never forget some time ago about fourteen professors came from the United States from different universities. And they came to Calcutta to our house. Then we were talking about that they had been to the home for the dying. We have a home for the dying in Calcutta, where we have picked up more than 36, people only from the streets of Calcutta, and out of that big number more than 18, have died a beautiful death.

      They have just gone home to God; and they came to our house and we talked of love, of compassion, and then one of them asked me: Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember, and I said to 98 Appendix them: Smile at each other, make time for each other in your fam- ily. Smile at each other. If we could only remember that God loves me, and I have an opportunity to love others as he loves me, not in big things, but in small things with great love, then Norway becomes a nest of love.

      And how beautiful it will be that from here a center for peace has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light in the world of peace, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people.

      God bless you! Source: Mother Teresa, Nobel Lecture. She is now known as Mother Teresa. Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mother Teresa dies in Calcutta at age New York: Doubleday, , p. Garden City, N. Quoted in Porter, Mother Teresa, p. Quoted in Spink, Mother Teresa, pp. Egan, Such a Vision of the Street, p. Rockport, Mass. Quoted in Sebba, Mother Teresa, p. Quoted in Chawla, Mother Teresa, pp. Spink, Mother Teresa, pp. Quoted in Chawla, Mother Teresa, p. Chapter 3 Chicago: Loyola Press, p. Quoted in Porter, Mother Teresa, pp.

      Quoted in Spink, Mother Teresa, p. Sebba, Mother Teresa, p. Quoted in Egan, Such a Vision of the Streets, p. Chapter 4 Quoted in Scott, A Revolution of Love, p. Indianapolis: Alpha, , p. Egan, Such a Vision of the Streets, p. Quoted in Mother Teresa, Essen- tial Writings. Maryknoll, N. Chawla, Mother Teresa , p.

      Mother Teresa

      Quoted in Sebba, Mother Teresa , p. Quoted in Feldman, Mother Teresa , p. Chapter 5 Quoted in Spink, Mother Teresa , p. Spink, Mother Teresa, p. Quoted in Egan, Such a Vision of the Street, p. Muggeridge, Something Beauti- ful for God, p. Chapter 6 London: Verso, , p. Quoted in Kenneth L.

      Notre Dame: Sorin, , p. Quoted in Feldman, Mother Teresa, pp. Mother Teresa: The Authorized Biography. Rock- port, Mass. Crimp, Susan. Notre Dame, Ind. Doig, Desmond. Egan, Eileen. New York: Doubleday, Feldman, Christian. Mother Teresa: Love Stays. New York: Crossroad Publishing, Hitchens, Christopher.

      New York: Verso,