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September 6, 1996

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September Mother Teresa widely acclaimed as living sain (CNS) Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity and won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, has been widely ac- claimed as a living saint. Even after health problems led her to resign as head of the Missionaries of Charities in 1990, her order re-elected her as superior anyway, and she con- tinued traveling at a pace that would have tired people half her age. Her latest visit to the United States included a meeting with Republican presidential candi- date Bob Dole June 1 at the Gift of Peace Convent in Washing- ton, where members of her order care for people with AIDS. The tiny, wizened nun in her familiar white and blue sari has traveled the world to deliver a single message: that love and caring are the most important things in the world. "The biggest disease today,;' she once said, "is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feel- ing of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible in- difference toward one's neighbor who lives at the roadside, as- saulted by exploitation, corrup- tion, poverty and disease." A favorite motto she has lived and preached has been, "Do small things with great love." But the "small things" she has done so captivated the world that she has been showered with honorary degrees and other awards, almost universally praised by the media and sought out by popes, presidents, phi- lanthropists and other figures of wealth and influence. Despite calls on her time from all over the globe to found new convents, speak at international gatherings or receive some new honor for her work, she always returned to India to be with those she loved most -- the lonely, abandoned, homeless, disease-ravaged, dying, "poorest of the poor" in Calcutta's streets. During a monthlong tour of the United States in 1982, she was asked at a press conference in Charleston, S.C., about the popular conviction that she was already a saint. "Please, let me die first," she answered. When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 1979, she ac- cepted it "in the name of the hungry, of the naked, Of the homeless, of the blind, of the lep- ers, of all those who feel un- wanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society." In her acceptance speech, she condemned abortion as the world's greatest destroyer of people. "To me, the nations who have legalized abortionare the poor- est nations," she said. "they are afraid of the unborn child, and the child must die." During a June 1988 visit to the United States, she told pro- lifers in St. Louis, "If I had power I would open a jail, and I would put every single doctor (ho performs abortions) in the jail for killing -- killing life, killing a child, a git from God." Seven years earlier in New York, she proposed a character- istically direct and simple solu- tion to the problem of unwanted pregnancy. YIfyou knovri_onezhc d..S not want the child, who is afraid of the child, then tell them to give that child to me," she said. Sometimes criticized for not using her considerable influence to attack systemic evils such as the arms race or.organized ex- ploitation and injustice, she sim- ply responded that that was not her mission, but one that be- longed to others, especially to the Catholic laity. "Once you get involved in pol- itics, you stop being all things to all men," she said in an inter- view in 1982. "We must encour- age the lay people to stand for justice, for truth" in the politi- cal arena. Often when criticized about her approach to social issues, Mother Teresa told of a man who suggested she could do more for the world by teaching people how to fish rather than by giving them fish. "The people I serve are help- less," she said she told him. "They cannot stand. They can- not hold the rod. I will give them the food and then send them to you so you can teach them how to fish." In recent years, she began work with sufferers of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. She opened shelters in New York, Philadelphia and Wash- ington for people witl AIDS. She founded houses in Cuba and the Soviet Union -- coun- tries not generally open to for- eign church workers. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Cal- cutta in 1950. According to a 1995 tally, the order has about 4,500 professed sisters in about 550 convents in 126"countriesl It has active and contemplative branches. In 1963 Mother Teresa co- founded the Missionary "Broth- ers of Charity with an Aus- tralian, Father Andrew Travers-Ball, who left the Je- suits to join in her work. With Brother Andrew as their ser- vant-general -- the few priests in the community also are called "brother," and all go by first names only -- the Missionary Brothers of Charity have grown to about 500 members. In 1969, in response to grow- ing interest of lay people who wanted to be associated with her work, an informally structured, ecumenical International Asso- ciation of Co-Workers of Mother Teresa was formed with the ap- proval of Pope Paul VI. The 3 million co-workers pay no dues and do not engage in fund raising, but support the Missionaries of Charity by their work in prayer and sacrifice and by their service to the poor. Mother Teresa was born Agnes Ganxhe Bojaxhiu to Al- banian parents in Skopje, in the Yugoslavian republic of Mace- donia, on Aug. 27, 1910. She had a sister, Aga, and a brother, Lazar. Her father was a grocer, but the family's background was more peasant than merchant. Lazar said their mother's ex- ample was a determining factor in Agnes' vocation. "Already when she was a little child she used to assist the poor by taking food to them every day like our mother," he said. When Agnes was 9, he said, "She was plump, round, tidy, sensible and a little too serious for her age. Of the threeofus, she alone did not steal the jam." As a student at a public school in Skopje, she was a member of a Catholic sodality with a spe- cial interest in foreign missions. "At the age of 12, I first knew I had a vocation to help the poor," she once said. "I wanted to be a missionary." At 15 Agnes was inspired to work in India by reports sent home by Yugoslavian Jesuit missionaries in Bengal -- pre- sent-day Bangladesh, but then part of India. At 18 she left home to join the Irish branch of the Institute of the Blessed Vir- gin Mary, known as the Loreto Sisters. After training at their institutions in Dublin and in Darjeeling, India, she made her first vows as a nun in 1928 and her final vows nine years later. While teaching and serving as :ii,iiiiiiii!iiiiiili! % . MOTHER TERESA a principal at Loreto House, a fashionable girls' college in Cal- cutta, she was depressed by the destitute and dying on the city's streets, the homeless street urchins, the ostracized sick peo- ple lying prey to rats and other vermin in streets and alleys. In 1946, she received a "call within a call," as she described it. "The message was clear. I was to leave the convent and help the poor, while living among them," she said. Two years later, the Vatican gave her permission to leave the Loreto Sisters and follow her new calling under the jurisdic- tion of the archbishop of Cal- cutta. After three months of medical training under the American Medical Missionary Patna, India, Mother went into the bring children cut off from cation into her first volunteers, many of former students, came to her. In 1950 the Missionari Charity became a gious community, and 15 later the Vatican reco as a pontifical con rectly under Vatican tion. The members of the gation take vows of po chastity and obedience, vow of poverty is other congregations Mother Teresa explained, = able to love the poor and See MOTHER TERESA Mother Teresa eager to leave hospital; doctors ca= CALCUTTA, India (CNS) -- Mother Teresa has been press- ing doctors to release her from the hospital, but still needs time to regain her strength, her doctors said Sept. 3. One of the doctors treating Mother Teresa, Dr. Sudipta Sen, said the Nobel laureate's release from the hospital "depends on how long we take to make her a little bit stronger." Mother Teresa remained in intensive care after a two-week struggle with an irregular heartbeat and malaria, as well as a lung infection caused by a respirator that helped her to breathe during her hospitalization. Sen said that the lung infection was "nothing to worry about" and was being treated with antibiotics. An X-ray taken Sept. I revealed no new lung infections. -, Doctors were debating the use of electric shock treatment to stabilize Mother Teresa's heart rhythm. However, Sen said an ir- regular heartbeat would not prevent her from returning to the Calcutta headquarters of her order, the Missionaries of Charity. "There are many heart patients who move around with ir- regular rhythm,  he said. "She is pressing us every day to release her," said Sen, direc- tor of Woodlands Nursing Home, where Mother Teresa has been hospitalized since Aug. 20. "It is virtually a tug of war every day, and every day we are telling her that we are going to release her tomorrow." An altar and small statue of Jesus were provided for Mother Teresa inside the intensive care unit. "She gets tremendous power from the prayers," Sen said. Plans to move Mother Teresa out of the intensive care unit were postponed because ofcardiac irregularity, her doctors said Aug. 30. "Her heart is still fragile and cardiac irregularity is still per- sisting," Dr. Asim Kumar Bardham told Reuters, the British news agency. "The chances of her being discharged within a week are high," Sen said Aug. 30. Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta visited Teresa Aug. 29 and said: "She was sitting in a chair tered and seemed happy. She said, 'I want to go home, there is much to do.' I'd say she's well enough." Dr. Dinamani Banerjee, a third doctor treating Mother Teresa, said: "She is talking every five minutes. She is saying  same thing over and over again: 'I have a lot of work. Now is no need for me to stay here." Cardipal John J. O'Connor of New York told Catholic York, the archdiocesan newspaper, that he sent a fax message associates of Mother Teresa in Calcutta saying that she "does: have my permission to die." Mother Teresa was admitted to the hospital Aug. 20 with fever. Doctors discovered she had malaria, and at one point heartbeat was irregular for a few seconds before doctors cor- rected it. She also received antibiotics for the lung infection. Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, celebrated her 86th birthday in the hospital Aug. 26. On that day, she sat up in bed. "It's almost like a resurrection," said Missionary Sister Andrea. Meanwhile, Father Eduard le Joly, spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa's order for more than 30 years, said that the ' sibility of a new superior general will be discussed when 160 the order's nuns from around the world meet in C October. Father le Joly said church law allows a be elected only once. "Mother Teresa has been re-elected several times but time the Holy See gave p6rmission for her to continue. 'round, the Vatican may not give permission," he said.