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Mother Teresa: A symbol of love, care and compassion

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Mother Teresa’s selfless and untiring service to the poor of the poorest, orphaned and sick people on the streets of Kolkata will always be remembered by every Indian. It is gratifying to note that Pope Francis, the Head of the Vatican has recognized her charitable services to humanity and declared her as a saint on September 4, 2016.  September 4, 2016 coincidentally also happened to be Mother Teresa’s 19th death anniversary.

With the canonisation of Mother Teresa as a saint, India now has eight saints of her own. They are — St. Gonsalo Garcia, St. Francis Xavier, St. Alphonsa, St. John de Britto, St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal, St. Joseph Vaz and St. Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa will always be remembered for what she said and what she did during her entire lifetime. She started her work with no money, depending only on Providence to help her.  She alone nursed the sick and the dying, taught street children, gave shelter to the homeless, cared for the unloved and the lonely, and proclaimed the Word of God to whomever she met. The rich and the poor alike have felt explicably drawn into the mercy of God’s tender embrace by her example as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Her selfless love is a powerful example of what it means to love others as Christ loved us and a sign that God still loves the world today.

Clad in a white khadi saree with its three blue line border, Mother Teresa along with her sisters of the Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of love, care and compassion for the entire world. She was a ray of hope for many, including the sick, the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.

Blessed with profound empathy, unwavering commitment and unshakable faith since young, she turned her back to the worldly pleasures and focused on serving mankind ever since she was 18 years old.

After years of service as a teacher and mentor, she experienced a call within her religious call, which changed her course of life completely, making her what she is known as today.

Founder of the Missionaries of Charity, with her fervent commitment and incredible organisational and managerial skills, she developed an international organization that aimed towards helping the impoverished.

Even though she has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church, she is still a mother to all of us. She will always be remembered for her good deeds for years to come.

Who would’ve thought that a fragile nun from Albania could make it to India and care for the naked, the disabled and the diseased?  Mother Teresa has made India proud by showing and proving to the world what one person’s mission can achieve. She was born in 1910 and came to India in 1929. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, which is still active today even after her death in over 136 countries. The members of her congregation run homes for people, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion, dying of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and leprosy. India has honoured this messenger of Christ with the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1980, besides other awards prior to that. One year prior to her death, the world honoured her with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course, Mother Teresa had critics even within the Catholic Church and within her congregation but how she responded to such venomous criticism is very simple. There was no convincing response other than her simple and profound life lived out for the poor and the dying. Her life is an epitome of gratuitous mercy, is the only convincing response to all criticism aimed at her. Pope Francis in his homily during the canonization Mass on September 4, 2016 said, “The Albanian nun witnessed to a life of humility through her care for the dying in the Indian city of Calcutta.”  He praised her as an emblematic figure of womanhood and recalled her strong stand against abortion.

Today, because of the Missionaries of Charity, many new born babies who are abandoned by their parents and left on the streets to die are seeing the light of the day.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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