Four characteristics of the Eucharist – a gift of self that is “taken,” “blessed,” “broken” and “given” – also describe the way St. Teresa of Calcutta lived out her faith, said Transitional Deacon Colm Cahill, reflecting on how Mother Teresa embodied those eucharistic adjectives on a global stage during St. Pius X Parish’s Aug. 31 Holy Hour.
“She lived in poverty, in the slums, surrounded by death and suffering, and yet she was blessed,” Deacon Cahill said.
“Who is this woman who stands before the U.N., who stands before world leaders sitting in silence listening to her? Who is this lowly lady who affected the lives of thousands directly and millions indirectly?” Deacon Cahill asked.
“Perhaps tonight, as we continue to pray, we can ask the Lord to show us the areas of our lives where he has blessed us. He still waits for us to do what Mother Teresa did, and to simply respond.”
St. Pius X’s weekly Holy Hour of eucharistic exposition put the special focus on St. Teresa in anticipation of her Sept. 4 canonization.
After Benediction, the multi-age celebration continued in the gym, where participants enjoyed refreshments and were invited to have their St. Teresa medals blessed by Father Patrick Williams, St. Pius X pastor.
Holy cards picturing the new saint were distributed, along with stationery families could use to write to someone who might be feeling as forgotten as those whom St. Teresa sought out. Stickers imprinted with some of St. Teresa’s most famous quotations decorated the envelopes, offering wisdom such as:
• “Be kind whenever possible – and it is always possible.”
• “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle – I just wish he wouldn’t trust me so much.”
• And, “Peace begins with a smile.”
Children sprawled across the gym floor for the evening’s concluding activity: “Mother Teresa: Seeing the Face of Jesus,” a film of crayon drawings illustrating the journey of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu from her birth in 1910 in modern-day Macedonia, to her ministry of aiding the hungry and sick of India, to her death in 1997 at age 87.
Film viewers learned that young Agnes’ Catholic faith was shaped by devout parents, the loss of her father at age 8 and a tradition of opening the family home to the poor.
St. Teresa entered religious life at 18, serving first as a teacher in India with the Sisters of Loreto, then answering a call to minister to India’s most destitute by founding a new religious congregation in 1950: the Missionaries of Charity.
“I think Mother Teresa was so brave when she was a girl to leave her home. That would be really hard for me to do,” admitted St. Pius X fifth grader C.C. Truxillo, after watching the film on the saint’s life.
“She didn’t know if she would ever see her family again or her friends, but she heard God calling her and so she did it. I’m not sure if I would be that brave,” C.C. said. “When I think about Mother Teresa and ask her to pray for me, I will ask her to help me be brave, too.”