Year of Youth 2018

Meeting Mother Teresa

Last edited 27th October 2016

Meeting Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa passed into eternal life in 1997. Many people had the good fortune to meet her personally, but I never did. Or did I? On a family visit to Washington, D.C., in 2007, our missionary friend, Patrick, took us to an AIDS hospice run by Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity.

I will never forget the sight of the bare little room where we waited for the sister in charge of the house to arrive and take us around. As we waited, I marveled at a map of the world on the wall covered in thumbtacks. Each one represented a home just like the one we were standing in. In 1946 Our Lord had called Mother Teresa from a happy and fruitful vocation with the Sisters of Loreto to take to the streets to serve the poorest of the poor.

In just a few decades, there were thousands of sisters all over the world. Staring at that map on the wall, it struck me how each one was, in a certain sense, another Mother Teresa — not just a fellow sister, not just a disciple, not just someone who wore the same habit, but someone who lived exactly like her. Not just taking care of the poor, but being one of them. Not just living as the poor do wherever they are in the world, but living as the poor of Calcutta do. Not just trusting God to provide for their needs, but never asking for money.

The sister in charge of the house told me that Mother Teresa promised Jesus she would never say no to him. The fruit of that lifelong yes was love, enough to fill the whole world. I felt it when an Indian sister spontaneously threw her arms around my neck and exclaimed, “I want you to stay here forever!” It felt like the embrace of Jesus.

As we prepare to celebrate on Sept. 4 the canonization of the humble saint who brought the embrace of Jesus to the world, Catholic Digest is pleased to bring you the personal testimony of people who knew her — the one and original Mother Teresa.

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