As a young girl in Albania, Teresa knew that God was in pain and she wanted to walk in the way of the Good Physician to alleviate that pain where God’s hurt was greatest.
The Catholic nun and missionary who became known as the saint of the gutters did not begin her mission in the streets. She served for a time at the Loreto convent school in Calcutta, teaching the well-to-do young. Teaching was rewarding work, but it was not her ultimate mission.
Her real call came when she was on a train to Darjeeling in 1946. “The message was clear—it was an order,” she said. “[God] wanted me to be poor and to love him in the distressing disguises of the poorest of the poor.”
In a 1974 interview she said: “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”
After she made the decision to serve the poor, she patiently waited two years to be released from her vows, and with but a few rupees in her pocket she began her ministry. Now her Missionaries of Charity order runs orphanages, homes for the poor, AIDS hospices and other charity centers around the world.
When she was first starting her mission, she was very much alone. She wrote in her diary:
- Today I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home (for a center), I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto came to tempt me. But of free choice, my God, and out of love for You, I desire to remain and do whatever be Your holy will in my regard. Give me courage now, this moment.
Starting with nothing, she cheerfully went to serve those with less than nothing. Teresa counsels, “Make sure that you let God’s grace work in your souls by accepting whatever he gives you, and by giving him whatever he takes from you. True holiness consists in doing God’s will with a smile.
In Messages from Heaven, a soul newly arrived in the retreats of the Brotherhood offered these comments following Mother Teresa’s death:
- Mother Teresa was in every way a saint. She received her calling from the masters at inner levels, and she fulfilled it beyond expectations....
- There is a reason that Mother Teresa’s home was in India. She represented the Mother flame and India came to honor her as the Mother.
- Heaven was waiting for her arrival. Her life was a cause for celebration in the etheric realm. Indeed, the words ‘well done’ echoed through our halls, and we all felt joy in her accomplishments. This daughter of God understood joy as few have known it.
- It is important to note that her calling did not come easily or simply at first; very few do. Mother Teresa prayed without ceasing and studied to internalize the deepest meaning of Christ’s teaching. She was guided throughout her mission because of the purity of her intent and her dedication to the will of God. Her evolution to saint, however, was a path and a process. The greatest pity will be if others do not realize that this path is open to all who seek it with the fervor and commitment that she modeled.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, October 13, 1997.
- Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 67.
- Patricia Kirmond, Messages from Heaven, pp. 212–13.