In Rome today, the Holy Father will canonize Mother Teresa of Calcutta and proclaim her a saint of the Church! While canonization dates often have no relation to when a feast will occur on the calendar, it is most fitting that tomorrow (Monday, September 5) is the day that has been assigned to observe her feast day! It is also the 19th anniversary of her death.
In many ways Teresa’s life played itself out on a world stage. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Macedonia of Albanian heritage on August 26, 1910. She entered the Sisters of Loretto in 1928 located in Dublin, Ireland taking the religious name of Teresa. At the conclusion of her years as a novice and a postulant, was sent to India. In 1946, after teaching nearly 17 years, and on a train ride from Calcutta, she received what she termed her “call within a call” to found the Missionaries of Charity. By 1950 it was officially erected as a Religious Institute of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, and in 1965 Blessed Pope Paul VI raised it to a Pontifical Right giving it international status. It quickly spread worldwide, from India to Venezuela, throughout Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and to North America. Her one regret is that it was never able to reach into China! She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. Her death in 1997, a few weeks after the death of her friend, Princess Diana, brought about a “State Funeral” with her body being carried on the same gun carriage as that of Nehru and Gandi. Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, Prime Ministers and Presidents and many world leaders were present for her Funeral Mass.
While her autobiography speaks of the many periods of “doubt” in her life, her inner spirit, which touched the hearts of many is often summed up in her multitude of quotes: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think this is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” Of the poor she reminded us that “each one is Jesus in disguise.” To those who question the value of their ministry, “if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” To the self-righteous and unforgiving, “if you judge people, you have no time to love them.” To the humble of heart, “love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand.” And, of herself, “I think I am more difficult than critical!” Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Pray for us!
The Collect of the Liturgy for today, based upon the Scriptures, is so very appropriate:
God of the ages, you call your Church to keep watch in the world and to discern the signs of the times. Grant us the wisdom which your Spirit bestows, that with courage we may proclaim your prophetic word and complete the work you have set before us.
Sister Linda Gaupin, who serves our parish as director of Liturgy, will be celebrating her 50th Anniversary of Religious Profession on September 11, 2016 at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Divine Providence in Pittsburgh. We will have a parish celebration for her here at Blessed Sacrament the following Sunday, September 18, 2016 at the Noon Mass. A reception will follow the Liturgy. Please come and join us as we celebrate Sister Linda’s 50 years of service to the Church on her Golden Anniversary!
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!