We hope everyone is having a ‘peaceful’ return to school! It is encouraging to see many parents involved in the education of their children this fall, especially religious instruction.
Over the course of the last many months I have been trying to consider the lives of saints who worked with the poor and the sick. How many there are who cared for the sick and the dying without any of the advances of modern medicine! Their faith and trust in Almighty God’s protection and providence is an example worth considering in our present situation.
One recent saint who cared for the poor, the sick and the dying was Mother Teresa. She died September 5, 1997. On September 10, 1946, after seventeen years as a teaching Sister, she sensed a calling from Our Lord to live with and care for the poorest of the poor – in a predominantly non-Christian country: India. On December 21, 1948 she made her first visit to the slums of Calcutta. After daily Holy Communion and Rosary in hand, she went out each day to serve Jesus in ‘the unwanted, the unloved and uncared for.’ One by one, her former students joined her.
Mother Teresa’s new congregation, The Missionaries of Charity, was established officially on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 1950. By the 1960s MCs were going out to other countries to care for society’s cast-aways. By the 1990s the MCs were in all of the former communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.
As a younger priest, I was given many opportunities to offer Mass for the MCs in Washington, DC at their Home for the Dying/AIDS House and their Soup Kitchen/Home for Mothers and Children. There is so much to learn from these humble yet capable consecrated women! Their joy and care for others – intermingling with their residents freely and without fear. Their sensitivity with their residents – physical touch is the language of love, especially to the terminally ill and dying. Their daily life of prayer that begins with early morning Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, hours of Eucharistic Adoration and devotion to Our Lady in the Rosary.
A few quotes from Mother Teresa worth considering:
· Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much great poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
· Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
· Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.