Copyright - Clancy Tucker (c)
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 1979
I have a few heroes that have inspired me over the years. Today I introduce one of them - Mother Teresa. In 1974 I spotted her in Bombay airport and took a chance to meet here. I'm very tall and she was tiny. However, not a word was said between us as I extended my hand. We shook hands and the wonderful woman smiled and blessed herself. Over the years I have read much about her and have been impressed not only by her work, but her selfless attitude. How did she get around the world? Well, it is commonly known that she would approach airline staff at any airport and ask for the manager. Naturally, people knew who she was and she was soon led to the manager's office. Calmly, she would ask, 'Sir, I need to go to ... can you help?' That's how she worked. And, she apparently only travelled with a small bag which contained a set of rosary beads, a prayer book and a pad and pen - that's all. Above all, she did not care if you were a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Leper or sinner.
Mother Teresa's work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards.
Nobel Peace Prize Medallion
Mother Teresa was supposedly born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26th, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months' training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.
Mother Teresa waited quite some time to speak to the pope about her plans. Can you imagine the pope's thoughts when a tiny woman from Macedonia asked to be sent to Calcutta to help the poor? However, on October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI. The rest is well-documented history.
"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.
Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Peace begins with a smile.
Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given.
If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
Clancy's comment: Mother Teresa made it all the way to September of 1997, then died the night before Princess Diana’s funeral. The gun carriage that carried Mahatma Ghandi and Nehru’s bodies was used to carry Mother Theresa to a service in Netaji Stadium. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets. Guests included Hillary Clinton (she was in the neighborhood, with Diana just the week before), Spain’s Queen Sofia, Italy’s President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Jordan’s Queen Noor and India’s President K. R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral.
I have an expression I often use, 'Anyone can write a cheque. The most expensive gift you can offer is yourself.' Mm ... one can only step back, take a deep breath and wonder when will the next Mother Teresa appear.
Loved ya work, Mother Teresa ... loved ya work! - CT
I'm Clancy Tucker.
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Two famous women: one a princess, the other a saint. Sadly, both have left us.