I was in my grade schooler that time when my sister, my mama and I were watching in our old Sony box television of what seems to be a serious award ceremony of someone being recognized for exemplary work. The reception was bad. We have to adjust the two horns of antenna attach to our TV to see clearly. The sound was muffled and I can’t barely see the people in the TV with its grainy resolution. But I get to picture out a tiny elderly woman, all bent and body that is subtly trembling due to her age, accepting an award. My mom said, “that lady is the living saint.“
Years afterwards, I came to know that woman is Mother Teresa. She is a missionary nun in Calcutta, India. I used to know her strong association with the Princess of Wales, Diana. I didn’t have much interest in getting know this holy woman’s story. Not until a week ago when I learned that she is going to be canonized as a saint, I have cultivated a deep curiosity about her life. Mother Teresa is officially canonized a saint as of yesterday, September 4, 2016.
Mother Teresa was born as Agnes at Macedonia in August 26, 1910 from a Kosovar Albanian family. At age 12, she believed God had called her to live a religious life so at age 18, she joined the Sisters of Loreto. She became a novitiate and took her religious vows as a nun in India. There, she was also a teacher in a schoolhouse close to her convent. Until one day, when she was travelling by train back to the Loreto convent, she experience divine calling, “a call within a call”, that she will leave Loreto convent, to go out and help the poorest of the poor.” She began her missionary work alone, replacing her Loreto habit with a white sari with blue borders. In sheer determination and deep passion for helping the poor, Mother Teresa was able to ask for support from several people to help her build places for the poor, the sick, the lepers, the orphans, etc. Soon after, her work was recognized and inspired other women to leave their comfortable lives and join Mother Teresa in her mission. Their congregation became the Missionaries of Charity.
There was a lot of people who was touched by the charm, cheerfulness and perseverance of Mother Teresa, from all the souls that she helped, to Princess Diana, politicians, Pope John Paul II, and even Hindi autobiographer of Mother Teresa, Navin Chawla.
I am so inspired by Mother Teresa’ s words and nugget of wisdom. Try to watch her interview here. She is a woman with a clear mind with overflowing love for Christ and the representation of Christ which is the poor.
I am excited to watch the movie about her called “The Letters” by Juliet Stevens. It is a based on the letters she wrote to her confessors of her struggle of spiritual dryness for 50 years until the end of her life. She feels it is because of her sinfulness and unworthiness that she was not blessed with the reassuring presence of God for a certain period in her life. (These struggles were also experienced by other saints like St, Therese of Lisieux and St. John of Cross, & etc.). But her struggles, perseverance to continue her calling and unceasing loving Jesus with all her heart & action is an act of true love to the Prince of Prince.
Pray for us, St. Mother Teresa!
*All photos from www.pinterest.com