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Mother Teresa

.. First she goes to Patna to follow a nursing training with the sisters there. It is obvious to her that she can only help the poor in their dirty, sickening habitation if she herself knows how to prevent and cure. This medical training is indispensable for the fulfilment of her new call. The superior in Patna, a doctor, gives her good advice when Sister Teresa talks about how she wants to live among the poor and how she wishes to care for them. When Sister Teresa says that she wants to live on rice and salt, like the poor, the superior answers that this would be the best way to hinder herself in following her call: this kind of life demands a strong and good health.

Back in Calcutta, Sister Teresa goes in the slums and the streets, to talk with the poor, to help them. All she has is a piece of soap. She helps to wash the babies, to clean the wounds. The poor people are astonished: Who is this European lady in that poor sari? She speaks fluently Bengali! And she helps them wash, clean and care! Soon she starts to teach the poor children how to read and write, how to wash and to have some hygiene. Later it will be possible to hire a small place to make a school. She herself sleeps with the Sisters of the Poor. God is her great refuge for strength and material support.

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And He is: always she finds the right medicine, clothes, food and a place to receive the poor to be able to help them. At noon children receive a cup of milk and a piece of soap, when they come regularly, but they also hear about God, who is love and who – contrarily to their obvious reality – loves them, really loves them. (A life: Mother Teresa, Lush Gjergi,), (www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/dec1997/editor ial.com), (www.drinicom/mother teresa),(www.home1.pacific.net),(St. Anthony messenger Magazine Online),(Newsweek Magazine) One day a Bengalise girl, from a well-off family and former student of Sister Teresa, wants to stay with Sister Teresa and help her. This is a touching moment.

But Sister Teresa is realistic: she speaks about the full poverty, about all the disagreeable aspects of the work which is hers. She proposes the girl to wait some time. The 19th of march 1949 the girl comes back with no jewels and in a poor dress. The decision was made. She was the first to join Sister Teresa and took her girls’ name: Agnes. Other girls follow: in may they were three, in November five, next year seven.

And Sister Teresa prayed fervently for more vocations to the Lord and to Our Lady. There was a lot of work. The sisters raised early in the morning, prayed a long time, had adoration and attended mass to find in their spiritual life the strength to do the material work in the service of the poor. Thank God, a certain Mister Gomes offered the top floor of his house to Sister Teresa for her first community. In this year also Sister Teresa takes the Indian nationality.

Sister Teresa sees the community grow and knows she can think seriously about starting a congregation. For the first constitutions she asks the advice of two from her first helpers: Father Julien Henry s.j. and Father Celest Van Exem s.j. The last reading was done by father P. De Gheldere. The “Constitutions of the Society of the Missionaries of Charity” could be presented to the archbishop, who would send them for approval to Rome.

Early in autumn the papal approval arrived and 7th of October 1950, feast of the Holy Rosary, the foundation was celebrated in the chapel of the sisters. The archbishop celebrated mass and father Van Exem read the foundation papers. That moment there were 12 sisters. Every year hundreds of sisters over the world celebrate on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary the foundation of the Congregation. Not even five years after this day the congregation became papal, this means that they depend straight from the pope.

It is basic in the Rule of the Society that the sisters, out of love for Jesus, devote themselves out of their free will, to the service of the poorest of the poor and this is as a fact, their fourth vow. This is their way to live and spread the gospel and work for the salvation and the sanctification of the poor. (A life: Mother Teresa, Lush Gjergi,), (www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/dec1997/editor ial.com), (www.drinicom/mother teresa),(www.home1.pacific.net),(St. Anthony messenger Magazine Online),(Newsweek Magazine) While the number of poor and sick that asked for help was increasing, the admiration for the free devotion of the sisters was growing as well. Find a suitable house to accept the increasing number of sisters was a real necessity.

After a novena to Saint Cecilia the solution came: a muslim leaving town to Pakistan sold his big house for a cheap price and this became the famous Mother house, Lower Circular Road 54A. The postulants first came from Bengaly, then from all over India and finally from all over the world. The foundress herself was novice mistress. For the spiritual training she asked one of the fathers, but for the matters of the house and the Community, it was clear, this was not his responsibility. She did not want an interference from outside in the inside matters. The first confession father was father Edward Le Joly s.j.

Like the other Jesuits he was from Belgian origin. He had a good contact and a good co-working and wrote some of the first and most respected books about Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity. (A life: Mother Teresa, Lush Gjergi,), (www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/dec1997/editor ial.com), (www.drinicom/mother teresa),(www.home1.pacific.net),(St. Anthony messenger Magazine Online),(Newsweek Magazine) While the society grew in work and number Mother kept praying for vocations and the work kept growing. Houses were opening and some closing down from one day to another for one or another political, social or security reason.

The society is very much alive and moving. Mother Teresa went all over the world to help people, rescue children, advise her sisters; to organize and to talk. More and more she was asked to address words to a group of sometimes ‘ordinary’ sometimes very exquisite crowds. In spite of the fact that her message is often the same, can be captured in few sentences and that she certainly has many times a quite “traditional” point of view, she is listened to carefully. In spite of her age she continues to search means to help the poor people all over the world and she helps with the means she has.

In every continent, even in Russia her sisters are present in their service to the lost, for the love of Jesus. In 1992 by the election of the New Superior general, she is prepared to hand over the responsibility. But she is re-elected. When in 1996 her health starts to fail seriously, due to her heart getting worn out by love and action she expresses the wish not to continue. On march 13th 1997 the assembly of sisters elect Sister Nirmala to continue the beautiful work, for the love of Jesus.

On September 5th 1997, late in the evening around 9.30pm, Mother Teresa goes to Heaven in the Mother house in Calcutta. Totally finished and worn out, as she had given herself totally, wholeheartedly, freely and unconditionally to the service of the poorest of the poor, for the love of Jesus. (A life: Mother Teresa, Lush Gjergi,), (www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/dec1997/editor ial.com), (www.drinicom/mother teresa),(www.home1.pacific.net),(St. Anthony messenger Magazine Online),(Newsweek Magazine) Stephanie Johnson.

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