From the beginning in 1950 till Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, she had contact and was part of their religious formation for over 4000 Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity around the world. There were certain axioms that flowed from Mother Teresa whether in a private conversation, teaching a class or writing a letter to the Sisters. In a conversation she might say: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” If at an opportune time that would merit the statement she would repeat:”God did not call me to be successful but to be faithful.” There were occasions when on a several hour flight Mother Teresa would ask questions such as what do you think the prayer life of Fr. Damien was like? There was delight when there was a similarity of spirit. For example Fr. Damien said that it was at the foot of the Altar that he received his strength. Mother Teresa could identify completely with those words. Eucharistic devotion was another special similarity. We would be having some very profound
conversation suddenly Mother Teresa would ask the flight attendant if there was any extra or left over food that she could take for the poor. I was the carrier of left over rolls, butter, cheese, peanuts. When reaching our destination what happiness that brought to the children. It made me think what Mother Teresa was quoted as saying:
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
Unexpectedly one day, Mother Teresa arrived at the Shantinagar Leprosy Rehabilitation Center to take a Sister to be transferred to another house. Shantinagar Sister Superior was not too happy and Mother Teresa in a humorous way said “maybe I should take two Sisters.” Again the two early teenage friends from Yugoslavia were together. Everyone felt good because they were happy with youthful laughter. Shantinagar Sister Superior requested Mother Teresa if one of the orphans with no family or relatives be sent to the Irish Christian Brothers Orphanage in Calcutta instead of the Diocesan Boys Town. Mother Teresa gave permission although Shantinagar Sister Superior had been informed that there was absolutely no beds available as stated by the principal Bro Patrick and the area Superior Bro.Murphy. The young 5 year old had his earthly possession packed in a soup box tied with a rope. (It was a sight straight from Charles Dickens,” Oliver Twist.”) Arriving at the Calcutta orphanage both Irish Brothers were not pleased that Shantinagar Sister Superior came determined to leave the orphan with them. Holding his box in one hand and his Baptismal certificate in the other when Bro Murphy asked his name he spoke with all the confidence in the world: My name is Patrick Murphy!” He was accepted!
Fraternally in the Sacred Hearts,
Fr. Bill Petrie, ss.cc.