St. Theresa of Calcutta is a saint of our times. A reminder that saints aren’t icons or stained glass but people who love the Lord. Many folks met Mother Teresa or heard her speak, but few ‘tackled’ her. Let me explain.
In the Summer of 1995 Mother came to DC to receive the profession of final vows of some of her sisters. Everyone wanted to see her. I was a seminarian at the time and I went to the Mass with a priest friend. After Mass we used our collars to work our way back into the sacristy. It was packed like sardines with clergy. Having played rugby, I was good at pushing my way through crowds, so I worked and wedged my way to a position directly behind the future saint. As she chatted with the Cardinal Archbishop, I waited patiently. Disastrously, as she finished chatting with him, she started turning and moving in a direction opposite of the path I was blocking. She was not going to see me! I seized the moment, and the Saint, firmly placing my hand on her shoulder, I made sure that she turned around to see me towering above her. Some say that I spun her around, and the priest friend who saw still teases me about tackling a Saint! Hyperbole, yes, but worth it because…
As I got her undivided attention, I said, “Mother, I am a seminarian. Please pray for me.” She was so kind, inviting me to visit her sisters in Calcutta, asking my name, and insisting that I write my name on a piece of paper so that she could remember it and pray for me.
I did deliver on that promise to visit her in India… it was one of my motives for the trip with Fr. Sunny a few years ago!
I got to offer Mass in the chapel where her tomb is, with a number of her sisters in attendance!
I hope the Lord doesn’t have to tackle you to get your attention… and I hope that we are all as serious about praying for the folks who ask for our prayers. Now that St. Theresa of Calcutta is in heaven, she is even more profoundly delivering on her promise to pray for me and you.
Father John Mosimann