A Woman For All Seasons

September 5, 2017

Uncategorized

Image resultOkay, so I’m not a Roman Catholic. Why should that stop me from celebrating laudable brothers and sisters in the Mother Church? Saint Teresa of Calcutta is one of them. Today, September 5th, is her feast day.

I could be an obnoxious Baptist and use this moment to riddle Catholics for lifting up certain individuals above other believers and designating them “saints” (a label the Bible pastes on all the faithful), or I could feast on her memory.

I hereby choose to relax and shelve the debating. Teresa (1910-1997) is one of the more Christ-like figures to meet the modern public eye. If more Christians were like her, more would come to Christ.

The Franciscans briefly tell her story. I’ve cut and pasted the first few paragraphs, then give a link to their page:

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the tiny woman recognized throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor, was beatified October 19, 2003. Among those present were hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1950, as a diocesan religious community. Today the congregation also includes contemplative sisters and brothers and an order of priests.

Born to Albanian parents in what is now Skopje, Macedonia, Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu was the youngest of the three children who survived. For a time, the family lived comfortably, and her father’s construction business thrived. But life changed overnight following his unexpected death.

During her years in public school, Agnes participated in a Catholic sodality [a religious guild] and showed a strong interest in the foreign missions. At age 18, she entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. It was 1928 when she said goodbye to her mother for the final time and made her way to a new land and a new life. The following year she was sent to the Loreto novitiate in Darjeeling, India. There she chose the name Teresa and prepared for a life of service. She was assigned to a high school for girls in Calcutta, where she taught history and geography to the daughters of the wealthy. But she could not escape the realities around her—the poverty, the suffering, the overwhelming numbers of destitute people.

In 1946, while riding a train to Darjeeling to make a retreat, Sister Teresa heard what she later explained as “a call within a call. The message was clear. I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She also heard a call to give up her life with the Sisters of Loreto and instead, to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

Tap here for the rest of her story.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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