Anniversary date of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Canonization
Pope Francis in the Pope Mobile after Saint Teresa of Calcutta's Canonization. He took an extra "lap" as an encore!
Today, September 5th, marks the Anniversary date of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Canonization, in Rome, at the Vatican, with Popes Francis and Benedict presiding.
All of our Saint Teresa of Calcutta medals have been blessed by Pope Francis!
It was a spectacular day, celebrating “Mother Teresa,” often described as the “patron saint of the gutter.” Her Ministries of Charity covered the dirty streets of Calcutta where saint Teresa provided lifelong care to the poor, sick, and dying.
Our friends Mitchell Chandler and Gene Colon, at Saint Peter's Square, before Saint Teresa of Calcutta's Canonization, September 2016.
My friends Kim, Mitchell, and Gene, all doctors or lawyers, admirably sacrificed portions of their early years, helping Mother Teresa in India. At one point during volunteering, Kim somewhat miraculously (in my view, anyway) had a face-to-face encounter with Mother Teresa.
It some ways, their visit together was rather perfunctory, there was much work to do helping the poor and sick and the duties nearly overwhelming. Mother Teresa was holding a very sick baby. She said to Kim, “You take this one and give her all the love you’ve got. Love her as hard as you can, she is not going to make it.”
The baby died in Kim’s arms soon after. Years later, it took many tries and quite a lot of coaxing to get Kim to share the story. Yet, it was so selfless and profound, I feel fortunate to have heard it.
My friend Kyle recently stated, “religious people have no evidence of everything they believe. Period.”
The remark spoke far too broadly for me; it seemed callous, but it turns out that Saint Teresa of Calcutta would have likely agreed. During her life, Mother Teresa had grave doubts about faith. For many years, she felt entirely hypocritical and noted the hypocrisy in dark letters.
Like “Doubting Thomas” the Apostle, Mother Teresa often could not muster a sliver of faith. It was an inner agony. She wrote of her deep despair noting “the silence and emptiness where I look and do not see and listen and do not hear.”
Still, her lack of faith, the doubt, and torment did not curtail her life’s work. The patron saint of the gutter kept on keeping on and once proclaimed, “People really need your help but if you help them, they may attack you. Help them anyway.”
The takeaway message for me is to turn a blind eye on the illogical, the inconsistent, the hate, of which we often bear witness. Disillusion is easy. Reflection of intolerant religious principles and its denigrating zealots offer a tremendously easy open door and accompanying window for repulsion, disgust, and doubt.
It’s a cruel world, full of pain and with a million reasons for not adhering to, or even believing in, religious principles. In the story of Thomas the Apostle, his doubt was ultimately overpowered by belief and faith. In the non-storied, unmistakable, indisputable truth of the life of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, we find obvious voids and schisms. Yet, ultimately, true openness and a willingness for love, and to love, are her everlasting, enduring epitaph.