St. Teresa of Calcutta and Me

St. Teresa of Calcutta and Me

St. Teresa of Calcutta relic
[lead dropcap="yes"]Back in 2000, I think, my parish at the time, Immaculate Conception in Salem, hosted Scott Hahn for a day of talks. As the recent graduate of Franciscan University and former student of Hahn, I was one of the organizers of the event.[/lead]

And as usual with Scott, interest in his talk came from far beyond the borders of the parish. So I wasn't surprised when we received a letter from the Missionaries of Charity house in Dorchester, in Boston, asking if they could attend gratis (given their Poverty) and if they could have a place to eat lunch apart from the crowd (given certain of their religious community requirements). So I arranged for them to have lunch in the rectory with Scott.

In their gratitude, I later received in the mail a holy card of Mother Teresa, who had died only a couple of years before, attached to which was a small square of cloth from Mother's sari and several of her hairs.

Yes, a first class relic. It now sits in pride of place on our prayer shelf next to my relics of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and St. Faustina. And today I am so pleased to be able to say, St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

More St. Teresa of Calcutta Connections

I should note that my affinity for and connections to St. Teresa’s and her order extend beyond that one event. In 1995, a group of friends from Franciscan University and I were traveling over the summer from Steubenville to Maine for a camping trip and stopped in my hometown on the way. Two events coincided in that stopover. The first was my job interview with Philip Lawler for his then-new and groundbreaking internet service Catholic World News and the second was the visit of Mother Teresa to Boston with a Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton. On the same day. My friends went to the Mass along with my sister and my five-year-old niece Mary, while I went to my job interview. I always felt like the events were connected somehow.

A couple of years before that, my household at school participated in a Lenten sacrifice that involved us setting aside some money as a group. When we heard a mutual friend was traveling to Moscow for a mission trip, we gave him the money which he conveyed to the Missionaries of Charity house there and gave as a donation in my name. And so weeks later, I received a mysterious letter in the mail from Moscow, which turned out to be a letter of thanks from the sisters for our generosity.

It seems my path has often crossed that of St. Teresa and her sisters, almost as often as it has with St. Francis’ brothers and sisters.

Image Credit

  • motherteresarelic: Own photo
  • Curious – what sort of restrictions did the sisters have that they had to eat separately?

    • I’m going to guess that there’s some communal rule that meals are private or something. It might be even a general rule for contemplative orders.