Blessed Mother Teresa: She remains as a living role model for us today Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

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If she were alive today, Blessed Mother Teresa would have celebrated her 100th birthday this week. She is someone who will never really die.

She will be remembered for what she said and did while on this earth. But she will especially remain with us in the caring ministry of the Missionaries of Charity she founded and all the orphanages, AIDS hospices, and centers for the disabled and refugees she established throughout the world.

Role model as follower of Christ

Above all, Mother Teresa serves as an inspiring role model for all of us as a follower of Christ, as someone who put the Beatitudes into practice.
One of my favorite books is Blessed Are You: Mother Teresa and the Beatitudes, by Eileen Egan and Kathleen Egan, O.S.B. (Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich.) Eileen Egan — a longtime friend and associate of Mother Teresa’s — worked for Catholic Relief Services. She became acquainted with Mother Teresa when she visited the first Home for the Dying Mother Teresa opened in Calcutta. Sister Kathleen is a liaison for the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa, a group of lay people who share in the mission of the Missionaries of Charity.

Eileen Egan mentions her  first visit to Mother Teresa’s home. “I walked from pallet to pallet with her. . . . I saw with what infinite patience the Missionaries of Charity nursed the spark of life in near-dead corpses. ‘How can you do this day after day?’ I asked Mother Teresa. ‘They are Jesus,’ she replied. ‘Each one is Jesus in a distressing disguise.’”

Serving the poorest of the poor

At the age of 18, Mother Teresa entered the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish order with Sisters serving in India. She taught for 17 years at a Catholic school in Calcutta. She could have stayed there, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the school walls caused her to take a drastic step. She received permission to devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of India.

She started her work with no money, depending on God to help her. She exchanged her habit for a plain cotton sari and wore sandals on her bare feet. Eventually former students and other volunteers joined in her work.

Mother Teresa and her followers nursed the sick and dying, taught street children, gave shelter to the homeless, cared for the unloved and the lonely, and proclaimed the Word of God by their presence.

She once said, “At the hour of death we are going to be judged on what we have been and what we have done. He makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the sick one, the lonely one, the unwanted one, the rejected one. He gives us the opportunity . . . to put our love for Him in a living action.”

Let us remember Mother Teresa this week with special prayers. Let us all do what we can to follow her example by putting the Beatitudes into practice in our own lives through prayer and action on behalf of the poor and needy in our own communities and throughout the world.