Mother Teresa was born in Albania in 1910. She went to India in 1929 to become a Sister of Loreto, an order of teaching nuns. She took her first vows in 1931 and began working as a teacher, work she deeply enjoyed. She chose the name Teresa in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux, patroness of the missions.
As the years passed, Mother Teresa became increasingly aware of the poverty and despair that were the lot of so many people in India, including around the school in Kolkata. On September 10, 1946, she received a “call” from the Lord to leave the work she was doing and go out to live among and serve the poorest of the poor. Her response to this call and the positive results of her service and witness are well documented.
From the streets of Kolkata, men and women who joined her in service as the Missionaries of Charity have moved throughout India and into the broader world. Today, as sisters, priests and brothers, they have schools, clinics and shelters in 120 countries, including the United States. My home parish, St. Patrick’s, in Spokane, WA is even blessed to have a group of sisters working in the community. They are quietly witnessing and bringing the Good News to the larger neighborhood and diocesan community through their service and I am grateful for their presence there.
Many words have been written about Mother Teresa, including a post in this blog last year. Some praise her. Some criticize her. Some mock her. Some don’t know what to think about her. None of this would come as a surprise to her. It was like that from the beginning of her work. In the decades of her “dark night of the soul,” many of these things may have been thoughts she had herself.
But she was faithful to the calling she received and Pope John Paul II declared her Blessed. We’d do well to keep that in mind as we try to be faithful to the calls each of us have received. There are no guarantees of success or popularity. Most of us will never be praised by Kings, Queens and Presidents. Few will receive Nobel prizes. But we all can aspire to be faithful to the work set before us by our Lord.
If you’d like to send an e-card with words, prayers, and/or blessings from Mother Teresa, check out this link. http://www.catholicgreetings.org/Saints/motherteresa.asp
Blessed Teresa, pray for us.