Articles from the September 1997 Unification News

God Bless You, Mother Teresa

by Haven Bradford Gow

An article in the Sept. 12, 1997 Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., observed: "Mother Teresa, whose order-the Missionaries of Charity-is based in Calcutta and operates homes and hospices in more than 120 countries, died Sept. 5 at 87.... Most of [Mother Teresa’s] mourners [are] middle-class Indians of all faiths. While a small number of the poor [come], the reality of India’s intense poverty [means] many of the kinds of people who have received Mother Teresa’s help would not have the money to make the trip." The article added: "The strong spiritual bond many Indians of different faiths feel for Mother Teresa, who was born in Eastern Europe, has taxed the organizers of her funeral to the limit...."

A Catholic News Service report in the Sept. 13 Arkansas Catholic pointed out: "When Mother Teresa died, Pope John Paul II lost an exceptional friend and ally. His sense of grief was apparent in a short but powerful tribute he paid Sept. 6, the day after her death in Calcutta. He said he had just celebrated Mass with ‘intimate emotion’ for a nun whose lifelong witness of charity had affected the course of history. The pope recognized Mother Teresa’s spiritual greatness long ago." The report added: "At time, their relationship seemed like a mutual admiration society-but it was much more than that. The pope viewed her as a remarkable living witness of Jesus’ words, ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you’."

An article in the Sept. 12 USA Today noted: "Mother Teresa always said she wasn’t trying to change the world, just make it more bearable. She said she saw Jesus in the faces of half-dead people whose cheeks had been nibbled away by rats and maggots."

The USA Today article quoted several residents of Calcutta who had been positively influenced by Mother Teresa’s charity and good deeds. For example, Agnes Maity, who was a student at the school founded by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, observed: "Who will take care of us now? I was a girl when Mother picked me up in her arms. She got my brothers into good schools and got them good jobs. She always intervened. This area was saved only because of Mother."

Brian Christopher, who lived across the street from the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, said: "I watched her come to the door, pay the taxi and take in a woman whose husband threw her out because she was pregnant with a girl. I’ve seen her pick up unwanted children left on her doorstep, and lepers who came to her house. It changes you a lot."

Sister Dolores, a member of the Missionaries of Charity in India, declared: "Mother says [our work] is only a drop in the ocean. We can’t do everything. We offer a little comfort and a little love so that people can spend their last moments with dignity."

Despite her ailing health, Mother Teresa ministered to wounds which needed healing, to souls which needed saving. She continued to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the sick, console the dying. Mother Teresa’s charity and good deeds planted within others seeds of love from which love grows.

Mother Teresa possessed the kind of beauty which causes one to think of Christmas and of Easter and-ultimately-of God. It is not the kind of beauty celebrated by the Beautiful People of society who identify with wealth, popularity, social prestige and status symbols. Nor is it the beauty exhibited by Playboy and Penthouse models, television and movie idols and contestants in Miss Universe pageants. Rather, Mother Teresa possessed a moral and spiritual beauty-reflected in her face, eyes and good deeds-which far transcends mere physical beauty. Mother Teresa manifested the virtues of a genuinely liberated person: faith, hope, courage, charity.

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