Tag Archives: mother teresa

A Call To Mercy

Mother Teresa
Images Books, 2016
384 pages, hardcover $25

Published to coincide with her canonization, this new book of unpublished material offers the new saint’s profound, yet accessible wisdom on how we can show mercy and compassion in our day-to-day lives. Compiled and edited by Fr. Brian Kolodiejckuk, MC, the postulator of her canonization cause, the book presents profound insights on how we can show compassion in our everyday lives.

Subtitled Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve, the book is not only a lovely keepsake, but a living testament to the teachings of a saint whose ideas are important, relevant and incredibly necessary in the 21st century.

Order: AmazonBarnes and Nobles

Unmasking Mother Teresa’s Critics

Bill Donohue
Sophia Institute Press, 2016
128 pages, paperback $19.95

Mother Teresa was voted the most admired person of the 20th century. Still, she was not without her critics. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue closely examines their accusations. What virtually all of her critics have in common is an unbending disdain for Catholicism — most were, or are, militant atheists. This book, unlike the work of Mother Teresa’s critics, offers plenty of evidence; the sources are amply noted. Those who have been curious about the charges made by her detractors will find this book an invaluable resource. It unmasks her critics and puts to rest the cruel myths they promoted about her.

Order: AmazonSophia Institute Press

Advent, Mother Teresa, Holy Family

FR. SHENAN BOQUET writes that Blessed Mother Teresa will inspire you this Advent . . .


Blessed Mother Teresa’s tendency to offer quotes of spiritual genius offers timeless inspiration. In all the good she did, it was her faithful disposition that led her to accomplish great things for God’s glory.

Her willingness to help those suffering physical poverty, regardless of race or creed, clearly demonstrates “love for neighbor,” as demanded by biblical and Church teaching. Yet her greatest gift was her concern for people’s spiritual poverty. How can we acquire such a disposition in light of our own obstacles and sufferings?

Perhaps the holy woman of Calcutta simply placed herself where material and spiritual poverty knew no bounds. Picture the dramatic scene in Bethlehem. Joseph, keen to protect and provide for his expectant wife finally reaches his destination. The couple desperately seeks lodging after a long, weary journey on a road rife with dangers.

When a shelter is finally discovered, it’s just a very simple dwelling — a drafty, dank, dark and pungent cave surrounded by curious creatures. To make matters worse, what comfort could a feeding trough — a mere shallow and empty depression used to nourish livestock with food or water — provide for a swaddled newborn babe?

Imagine the holy couple amid such great difficulty, completely dependent on God, trusting in him to provide for their material and spiritual needs. History’s greatest accomplishment is delivered in the nativity, God’s gift of salvation through the joyous birth of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Even in the face of suffering, discomfort, and uncertainty, the greatest of deeds can be accomplished — just as the greatest of gifts can be unwrapped. This scripture passage presents God’s disposition for unveiling his eternal gift of salvation through the incarnation: “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9).

This is precisely why, in the humblest of settings, God’s works are accomplished completely through the desired dependence and disposition that the holy couple possessed. How to embrace such a disposition toward God is best explained by Mother Teresa: “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your own weakness.”

Life’s many obstacles are best overcome with complete dependence on God. Likened to the trough of the nativity scene, God cradles all of our material and spiritual needs in the most humbling and mysterious of ways when we empty ourselves. Following in the holy footsteps of St. Joseph and Our Blessed Mother, we too must embrace the cradle of a greater poverty of spirit, an impetus for an intimate and life-saving prayer life.

Such transformation allows God to fully maximize any talent, ability, wealth, reputation, influence and achievement to bring about great accomplishments for his kingdom. As Mother Teresa cautions, “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depth of our hearts.”

In this season of anticipation, joy, and wonder, consider for a moment the disposition we should have toward God, the giver of all gifts. Are we allowing ourselves to be emptied, addressing the temporal and spiritual poverty of our neighbor  — like Mother Teresa and the Holy Family — through our personal and professional lives?

I strive to live this very disposition in serving the Lord and his Church — my neighbor — as priest. The Lord continues to inspire me to exercise this disposition to accomplish great deeds in his vineyard in my current role as president of Human Life International. Such wondrous transformation brings about great accomplishments as seen in this admirable Catholic and educational apostolate. Throughout HLI’s 40-year mission, we have worked to encourage the faithful to embrace a disposition toward God and neighbor, following his will to cultivate, sustain and build a Culture of Life around the world in defense of life and family.

Perhaps this final pearl of wisdom from Mother Teresa will be an inspiration for your own disposition: “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.”

FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is the president of Human Life International and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, La.

How to help your children keep the faith in college

MONSIGNOR MICHAEL BILLIAN: Mother Teresa’s simple advice is gold for youth . . .

Monsignor Michael Billian

Monsignor Michael Billian

I recently heard a story about a businessman who had lost his sense of interior joy. He was struggling to find meaning in his life. Work had taken over, and he was constantly jet-setting from city to city on business, taking precious time from his family and parish life.

On one business trip, he found himself sitting next to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He couldn’t believe the opportunity! He was quite nervous, but he was sure that if he could get up enough courage to speak to her, she could help him through his spiritual crisis.

Not knowing how to start the conversation, he decided bluntly to ask, “How do I find joy in my life?” Mother said you have to have joy. He interrupted, thinking she didn’t understand the question, “Yes, but that is what I need to find — joy.”

Kindly, she continued, “You must make J.O.Y. your priority in this order — Jesus, Others and You — and only this order. Then you will find the spiritual joy you are looking for and the joy God wants for you.”

As Legates we must all keep this priority order for ourselves and offer this lesson to others by our words and actions — especially to your children and grandchildren as they go off to college.

I’m often asked by parents and grandparents how they can help their children or grandchildren stay close to the Church and the faith while they’re in college. Since I am a university parish pastor now and spent the first 15 years of my priesthood working in Catholic high schools, I have a unique perspective on the important transition from high school to college.

Heeding the advice of Blessed Teresa on the priorities of life regarding J.O.Y. is a good foundation for forming and talking to young people about life as they move into college. When it comes to putting this into practice on a college campus, here are some practical steps to faithfulness you can share with the young adults in your life:

Pray daily and go to Mass. One sure way to keep the faith in college is to stay in communication with God through both private prayer and community prayer, especially the Mass. Even if you only spend five or 10 minutes daily in prayer, it will be a great help. Remember always to allow God to speak to you during this time. That means you shouldn’t do all the talking; allow God to speak to you during quiet prayer. As nice as this private time with God is, He touches us most profoundly through the community. Jesus promised not to leave us alone but to form us into the family of God, the Body of Christ. Therefore, we must commit ourselves to celebrating Sunday Mass each week so that we can hear the Word of God proclaimed within the community of the Church and participate in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives.

Join a Catholic campus group. Campuses across the country have FOCUS, Newman Clubs, or Catholic student associations. These groups offer the opportunity to meet fellow Catholics who share your values and are interested in growing in their faith while enjoying the exciting years of college. They often offer the opportunities for retreats, educational programs, prayer experiences and great social events.

Get involved in Christian service. Sharing your gifts and talents with the under-served is a great way of actively answering God’s call to care for your brothers and sisters. By participating in these service opportunities, remember that you do this in answer to Jesus’ call — and not just to be a good humanitarian. While the work is always good, the reason we do the work can raise us to a higher level. It’s also good to spend some time reflecting on the service you do, remembering that you’re answering God when you do this work.

Avoid the temptation of pure independence. You’ll not only have time on your hands, but also have the opportunity to make your own decisions about the time you have. This newfound freedom can be a challenge. It’s easy to embrace independence without realizing that it can be a big temptation to turn away from God and the values that are at the foundation of your life. It’s important to live your new freedom with the support of a good faith life.

By keeping the priorities of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s advice in mind — and following a few practical steps — college students will always enjoy the embrace of God in the Church.

MONSIGNOR MICHAEL BILIAN is the chaplain of Legatus’ Genesis Chapter and pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Toledo, Ohio.

America is broken

Sen. Rick Santorum calls on Legatus members change the culture despite the odds . . . 

Many people are saying that America is broken and, yes, it is broken.

But that’s no reason to lack hope. It is every reason to be energized, because you are here at a time in American history when your country needs you, when you and everything you do can make a difference to have the hand of God put over America again. God’s hand was removed because we let it happen. It happened on our watch.

Senator Rick Santorum

Senator Rick Santorum

Hostile culture

If you’re like me, you were once living a life you’re not proud to talk about. But things in my life changed and put me on a different course. Marriage turned my life around when I dedicated myself forever and unconditionally to my wife, and she to me, under God. And when children came along, something else in my life changed: faith. Until then, faith was part of my life, but it wasn’t at the center of my life. It didn’t drive what I did; it was just something that I did on Sunday — and sometimes not even then. There was no personal, intimate love for our Savior.

There are millions of people in America who are just like I used to be — lost, despite being full of ambition and thinking they’re very successful, but missing something in their lives. More and more people are like that because, unlike in the past when there was a culture of faith in America, that’s no longer the case. God has been kicked out of the public square, the schools, popular entertainment.

Mother Teresa said that God does not call us to be successful: He calls us to be faithful. After fighting so hard in the Senate repeatedly to pass a bill outlawing partial-birth abortion and repeatedly losing against President Clinton, in the eyes of the world I was a failure. But I learned that in the eyes of God, success or failure was not mine to determine.

Amidst all that fighting and losing, all those debates and press coverage served to expose the full horror of abortion to the American people. For the first time since Roe v. Wade, attitudes on abortion began to change. So in what we thought was losing, God gave us a victory.

When you’re doing what John Paul II always admonished us — “be not afraid” — the culture will not be kind to you. But God will bless your sacrifices. He will bless the failures.

Fixing America

America is broken because we are afraid to fight. Surveys report that 75-80% of Americans believe in God, that about 40% of people call themselves conservative, and only 15-20% are liberal. Yet who is transforming our culture? How are they winning when there are more of us? They are winning because they are committed, they are united, they fight everywhere. They will not tolerate dissent.

Now we have people here who have had the courage to stand up, and you’re paying a price. But don’t you feel good about taking a stand, doing what you’re being called to do? Many of you are doing it in your businesses, but are you doing it in your schools? What about your churches? Is your pastor one of those pastors who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about those things that may drive people out? Are you holding him accountable for it? Let me assure you that the folks who don’t want to hear about those things, they’re chewing his ear every time he may have the courage to speak out.

Look back at the American Revolution, when everything was stacked against the colonials fighting the British. How did they win? Read the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence if you have any doubt how they won: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” How many of us are pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to fight for the gifts that those men fought and died for?

The hardest thing to do is not winning and establishing freedom, but maintaining freedom. We have our lives. We have important things to do. But we don’t live at a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.

Historian Christopher Lasch wrote, “Every day we get up and tell ourselves lies so that we can live.” We say, “I can’t do anything. What can I do?” I have a one-word answer: something.

Now again, you are doing something. You’re members of Legatus. But you folks are powerful people, influential in your community and your church. You need to look deep inside and ask yourself, “Am I doing all I can do to serve Him and the country He blessed so much? Or am I telling myself lies, so that I can live and do what I want to do?”

SEN. RICK SANTORUM is CEO of EchoLight Studios. He served as a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania from 1995-2007. This article is from a talk he gave at the Legatus Summit on Feb. 7, 2014.

Where There Is Love, There Is God

Mother’s private lessons to her sisters form the basis of this new offering . . .

kolodiejchukWhere There Is Love, There Is God
Doubleday, 2010. 384 pages, $24 hardcover

Mother’s new book is essentially a sequel to Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, which delved into her private spiritual struggles. Taken largely from her private lessons to her sisters and published for the first time, the new book unveils her extraordinary surrender to God’s will. Though not an exhaustive anthology of her teaching, it shows what she believed and taught about important issues that confront us all. Through her practical advice, she sets readers on the path to closer union with God.

Order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Mother Teresa at 100

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta would have turned 100 years old in August . . . 

cover-julyaug10In her 87 years, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta touched millions of lives through her work with those she called “the poorest of the poor.” Just six years after her death in 1997, the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity was beatified.

Her cause for canonization is moving forward. During her lifetime, a number of Legatus members and their families met this “living saint” who would have turned 100 years old on Aug. 26. These are their stories.

Anne Ryder, Indianapolis Chapter

“I do not do interviews or film projects, but you are welcome to come to Calcutta and to share our works of love.”

When TV reporter Anne Ryder received that reply to her request for an interview with Mother Teresa in 1996, she thought it “extraordinary.” She later learned that everyone who sought an interview got such a response. Nonetheless, her station’s general manager pronounced it “the nicest rejection letter I’ve ever seen” and opted to send Ryder and two photographers to India.

ryderRyder set out with little idea of what was to follow. Upon her arrival in Calcutta, she decided simply to absorb the experience of working as a volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity. That required letting go of her journalistic habit of controlling situations. “I dropped my pushy self at the door, and I grabbed everything I could read on her. Everything said if you want to be filled, empty yourself. So I did.”

After being assigned to one of Mother’s homes for the poor, Ryder simply went about her work. On the third day, she was summoned by Sr. Priscilla, whom she had been told was Mother’s “gatekeeper.”

“What are you doing here?” she asked Ryder. “I told her I was there to do whatever God wanted me to do in whatever way God wanted me to do it. I meant it.” As the two women talked, Ryder said Sr. Priscilla’s harshness seemed to melt. “Wait here,” she told the journalist.

“I heard her typing, and she came back with a permission slip to shoot in every one of the homes.” The nun then asked Ryder when she planned to leave. Told it would be Saturday, she said, “Saturday morning you will talk to Mother Teresa.”

For the interview, they sat together on a bench and talked for about 25 minutes. Ryder said she was permitted to ask questions freely, including why a loving God permits so much suffering. Mother Teresa responded: “He who has suffered so much for love of us, it is our opportunity to suffer for Him.”

The interview, the last before Mother’s death a year later, ran on several Midwest NBC affiliates.

Ryder said the most difficult lesson she learned from Mother Teresa is that “it’s not how much you do that matters, it’s with how much love you do it. That, to me, means pay attention to those impulses we get to call someone, to write someone, to cook for someone, to speak to a stranger, to ask if someone needs help, especially when it’s inconvenient, because it almost always is.”

Tom Monaghan, Naples Chapter

monaghanTom Monaghan has two heroes — Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa — but until an encounter in a Denver airport hangar on May 21, 1989, he had only met one of them.

Before then, Monaghan had met John Paul and had visited Missionaries of Charity houses in Rome and Honduras. But he had yet to meet Mother Teresa.

Their Denver meeting was a brief one and took place in the hangar of Leprino Foods, a major manufacturer of mozzarella cheese. At the time, Monaghan was chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza, and the company was one of Leprino’s biggest customers.

Monaghan remembers Mother Teresa as being very tiny with deep, penetrating blue eyes.

“We shook hands and there were a few other people there — not a crowd,” he recalled. “She had a rosary in her hand — one of those one-decade rosaries — and when she wasn’t talking to somebody, she seemed to be saying the rosary.”

Even before their meeting, Monaghan said Mother Teresa had inspired him. He was especially moved by the pro-life message she delivered at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast in the presence of then-President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. Mother Teresa’s speech led Monaghan to get more active in supporting pro-life political candidates.

Among his mementos of the woman who will someday likely be St. Teresa of Calcutta are a handwritten note from her and a photograph of their Denver meeting.

Paul Lauer, Hollywood Chapter

lauerOn a visit to Rome in 1991, Paul Lauer was determined to attend Pope John Paul II’s private morning Mass, but he never expected that being there would lead to meeting Mother Teresa.

Unbeknownst to Lauer, who had met Mother briefly in the late 1980s in Los Angeles, the Missionaries of Charity foundress was also in Rome while he was there with his wife Laura and their six-month-old daughter Corinne.

While waiting to enter the Pope’s chapel, Lauer and his wife began talking to several Missionaries of Charity; one mentioned that Mother Teresa would be coming.

“Sure enough,” Lauer said, “she comes in, sees our baby, and starts cooing over her.” After Mass, the family had a chance to talk further with Mother Teresa. “I said to her, ‘Mother, we’re from the U.S., and we’re trying to make our family a holy family.’ She said, ‘Holy family is big family.’”

The Lauers now have five children, the youngest of whom is nine. His meeting with the future saint came during a season in his life in which Lauer says he had been working to build a Catholic nonprofit organization. “There were a lot of things we sacrificed or gave up to be able to do that work. It seemed to be kind of God’s way of saying, ‘Thank you for doing a good job. Here’s a little treat.’”

Lauer said he saw the greatest impact from the encounter with Corinne, who is the most spiritually inclined of his children. “I’ve always reminded her of it — that she was blessed by the Pope and Mother Teresa. Whether it was because of that, or the things we always told her, or just her personality, or something supernatural, all through high school — she’s now in college at Ave Maria University as a freshman — she was always the more religious amongst her friends and really the only one who was a practicing, devout Catholic.”

Jane Nalty, New Orleans Chapter

naltyJane Nalty never met Mother Teresa, but she has a powerful connection to the beatified nun — a son who worked with the Missionaries of Charity foundress before becoming a priest.

Now the pastor of Good Shepherd Parish and St. Stephen’s Church in New Orleans, Monsignor Christopher Nalty was studying at Rome’s North American College in 1996 when he and a classmate decided to spend their summer working with the Missionaries of Charity in Africa. Instead, they were asked to go to Calcutta.

On their first day, Monsignor Nalty recalled, “We just showed up. We didn’t know what we were supposed to do.” They were enlisted to serve at the 5:30 a.m. Mass. As the future priest went to assist with communion, he was directed to the left side of the altar. He looked up to see Mother Teresa in front of him, waiting to receive the Eucharist. “I thought, ‘OK God, you can have me now.’ It was so very humbling to give her communion.”

This was to be the first of many encounters the seminarian would have with Mother during a summer in which he worked at a home for the dying and visited a leper colony, women’s prison, hospital and orphanage.

On one occasion, after he had heard Mother give her “stump speech” yet again to a group of pilgrims, telling how many nuns and houses the Missionaries had and in what countries, he said she caught him rolling his eyes.

“She turned to me and walked toward me, grabbed my shirt and said, ‘Look at me. I couldn’t do that. God did that.’ That’s the point I hadn’t gotten all summer! She wasn’t bragging. She was saying, ‘Look at what God did.’”


Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Born: Aug. 26, 1910. Skopje, Macedonia

Birth name: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu

Religious life: 1928: Joined Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sisters of Loreto) in Ireland. 1929: Went to India. 1931: First profession of vows. 1937: Final profession.

Missionaries of Charity: After receiving a “call within a call” on Sept. 10, 1946, she was granted permission to begin a new work among the poor in Calcutta. She left the Loreto Sisters convent on Aug. 17, 1948. She founded the Missionaries of Charity on Oct. 7, 1950. The work eventually expanded to six continents.

Honors: Nobel Peace Prize, 1979. Indian Padmashri Award, 1962

Died: Sept. 5, 1997

Beatification: Oct. 19, 2003

Canonization: Another miracle attributed to her intercession must first be authenticated.