If you have “eyes to see it” God intervenes in our life every day and our response becomes one of daily thanksgiving. If there is something missing from your life or a lack of fulfillment, Mother Teresa’s life somehow gives meaning. During the course of her life, thousands of people have been touched and uplifted by her charism. That charism was her love of God and neighbor.
Reflecting on the youthful Mother Teresa, at the age of sixteen she left Albania to enter the Irish Sisters of Loretto because of her desire to be a missionary in India. I could identify with that. At the age of sixteen, after reading the life of Fr, Damien of Molokai I entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts with the desire to go to India to work with patients of Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy). Our paths were to cross in July 1973. Although Mother Teresa never answered my letters, in my last correspondence to her, information was given of my travel plans to Calcutta. No one was at the airport to meet me. Wondering where I would go and stay, the words to be a follower of Jesus struck me: “foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” There was no panic but a realization that a good sense of humor was required to face the challenges of life. This was reinforced with our first face to face encounter both having smiling faces.
Mother Teresa was delighted to know that I was a member of the same Religious Congregation as Fr. Damien. He was her inspiration for starting the Hansen’s Disease work for the Missionaries of Charity. She wanted to know more about the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) and what lead me to India for a three month visit.
I informed her that she was the reason for my coming to Calcutta because of the Hansen’s Disease work. There would be no problem to be a volunteer and the work could start first in Calcutta and then to the Shanti Nagar (City of Peace) Leprosy Rehabilitation Center located several hundred miles outside the city. Mother Teresa’s ongoing smile seemed to convey her appreciation with my presence, but really it was my happiness that with 15 years of perseverance, to have this happen It made the moment an occasion of giving thanks to God, I think for the both of us. Mother Teresa called the Archbishop of Calcutta to inform of my arrival and would send me to his office to receive Priestly faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. Then I would be brought to the Missionaries of Charity Brothers House where I would temporarily stay. At the Mother House convent door Mother Teresa spoke a farewell remark until we would meet the following day. What she said can be meant for anyone reading this article: “
Let us do something beautiful for God.” (to be continued)