Mother Teresa with Star del Mar and the Missionaries of Charity
CBF South East Asia and Cebu Lay Formation Center join the Universal Church in rejoicing for the Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on September 4, 2016
Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was already known as the “living Saint” even when she was alive. This is due to her works and words that are summed up in one statement: total obedience to God’s will by doing what Christ asked each one of us to do.
When she came to Cebu City to visit her Sisters here, we met her at the airport and straight from there, she visited first our Cebu Lay Formation Center (CLFC) in Talamban. She is a short woman and looks very fragile and yet her mind is sharp and her heart is centered on Jesus Christ. Her mission is to love and help the poorest of the poor in every way as Christ loves them.
Fr. Willi was very proud to introduce to Mother Teresa our Institute for Lay Spirituality. Mother Teresa reacted to that. She said “what lay spirituality? There is only one spirituality and that is the Christian Spirituality. There are many religious congregations claiming the spirituality of their founders. But there is only one spirituality and that is the spirituality of Jesus Christ!” She was so emphatic when she said that. That is why what she said stayed in my memory.
Then I brought her around the building, which at that time, had a veranda all around it. Fr. Willi was busy entertaining the other Sisters so I had Mother Teresa all to myself walking around the veranda of the CLFC building. She asked me if the vacant lot next to our property belongs to us. I told her that it belongs to a rich Doctor. She said, we should get it since our property is too small for a retreat house. I told her that it is not for sale and we do not have money to buy it anyway. Then she whispered to my ear how we can at least use it and pray to Mother Mary that the good owner will donate it to us. I smiled, half believing it will happen. Fast forward: the good Doctor allowed us to use it for parking and for retreatants to walk around. So I opened a big gate to the property. Only that we could not develop it for our purpose since it is not ours.
Mother Teresa is a kind, generous and loving person but firm in her beliefs and aggressive in her plans with full trust and faith that God will help her in every way.
She said many things and I wanted to record them but I did not have the gadget for it at that time. I did not have a camera too. Someone took that one group picture at the airport and happy to get a copy of it.
But picture or not, it does not matter. What matters more is the encounter with someone who speaks the words of Jesus Christ and inspires others to do what Jesus did if only to assure everyone, especially the poor, that God loves each one of them! God loves us so much that we cannot but love others as well.
Mother Teresa did not only preach. She lived her preaching. She lived her faith.
Mother Teresa, pray for us, that we find the time and the courage to help the poorest of the poor in our midst!
Star del Mar
Saint Teresa of Calcutta… pray for us… the Catholic Biblical Federation of Southeast Asia!
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