St. Teresa of Kolkata: An Icon of the Good Samaritan

St. Teresa of the Gutters, as she is commonly called, was one of the greatest missionaries of the twentieth century. She spoke the universal language of love that is intelligible to everyone. With all the fibres of her being, she preached through action. She went everywhere to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. With the witness of her life, St. Teresa reminds everyone that the evangelising mission of the Church passes through charity, nourished by prayer and listening to God’s word. She proclaimed the Gospel living her life as a total gift to the poor but, at the same time steeped in prayer. Her life was a radical living and bold proclamation of the Gospel. “As you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me” (Mt 25:40) St. Teresa highlights the deepest meaning of service – an act of love done to the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners, is done to Jesus himself!

The figure of St. Teresa of Kolkata is well known all over the world. Her personality and humanitarian work have been broadcast through every form of the media. She had been favourite subject of countless biographers and hundreds of books have been published  about her in nearly all languages. She was born on 26th August 1910 in Yugoslavia as the youngest of three children and was baptised Agnes. Her father Nikola Bojaxhui and mother Rosa Drane Markit were both natives of Albania. St. Teresa was always cheerful, hardworking, charitable and generous, and had a notable talent for organisation. She founded the missionaries of charity through which she continued with her ministry to the poor while bearing witness to the joy of loving and serving. She won the Nobel Prize for Peace and the Bharat Ratna is 1980. She accepted all these “for the greater glory of God and in the name of the poor.” She always labours and spoke out to uphold the dignity and value of every human life.

On 5th September 1997 she was called to her heavenly reward. Let’s imitate her in all her goodness, the icon of the Good Samaritan. Reflecting on the pastoral theme “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37) be a Good Samaritan to others.

– Fr. Anand da Gama Pais

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