Feast Day of St. Teresa of Calcutta — Her Legacy
By Brooke Logan, RHC officer
“The whole of her life and labor bore witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God” (MotherTeresa.org).
Mother Teresa — a saint everyone has heard of, left a legacy when she passed. I believe this legacy to be her religious order, ‘The Missionaries of Charity’, because they continue to express a life of labor that bears witness to joy, the little things, and friendship with God and others.
This past March I went on a FOCUS mission trip to New York where we spent time working with three different religious orders, one of them being the Missionaries of Charity. Now, working with them was nothing like working with the CFRs or Servadoras because each one of these nuns are little balls of energy that serve others and clean from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed.
We had the opportunity to visit three of their convents in New York, each one served the community in a different way. The first one I went to was not only a convent, but it was also a home for elderly women. The second one was a soup kitchen half the days of the week and the rest of the time it was an ordinary convent. The third was a daily soup kitchen and a nightly men’s shelter.
I like to call these Sisters “little Mother Teresas” for a few reasons. For starters, they wear the same blue and white habit typically seen in photos of Mother Teresa, and although I did not know Mother Teresa, I feel like each one of those Sisters has the same heart for helping the poor with the same charisma and spirit as she did.
These sisters taught me to give glory to God, even when doing the most mundane tasks. For each of their convents I visited, I cleaned. I was put to the tasks of making the beds, sweeping, mopping, changing the curtains, doing the dishes and any other typical household chore you could think of. However, upon doing these tasks, we prayed. I remember being upstairs in the convent where the Sisters stay, and a group of us from the trip were spread out among the bedrooms to clean the mattresses and change the sheets of each bed. We had one Sister with us to show us how to do each part, and yes, there is a very specific way to make their beds. Now with each of us spread out along the hall of rooms, we were saying the rosary. But we were not just saying the rosary, we were yelling it throughout the whole hallway. It was funny because each of us on the trip would finish a Hail Mary, and the Sister would be words behind. Yet aside from being funny, it was actually beautiful not being in sync because this meant at each moment, someone was still praying, and there was no pause.
And while we were there to help and serve them, they were continuously serving us. Each morning they offered us breakfast, they were interested in our own stories, and they gave each of us a Miraculous Medal and a Mother Teresa medal. It’s like it was in their nature to serve others, and their hearts were made to serve others with great love. Spending time with each of them gave me a glimpse of what it must have been like to know Mother Teresa. While they worked non-stop, cleaning and re-cleaning, serving and re-serving, they did each task with thanksgiving, joy, and simplicity.
To this day, months later, I am still in awe of the fact that I have met people and the Sisters who knew Mother Teresa. But then I realized that I have met Sisters who are just like Mother Teresa and what a gift it was to spend time with them.
It was this trip that showed me Mother Teresa’s legacy is alive and well. Her religious order she started will forever express the same love and joy she had for serving the poor all while giving glory to God.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!