ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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She was able to love even in the darkness

In memory of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 20 years since her departure

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an extraordinary woman of faith and a missionary that was canonized by the Church. The UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, on the day of Mother Teresa’s death, said,: “Mother Teresa is the United Nations. Mother Teresa is peace in the world.” These words effectively express the amplitude, the greatness, and the depth of service to life that this little woman has been able to express in faith in God and man, in every man. Today, on his white tomb in the house of Calcutta, pilgrims of all times and of every faith can read a verse of the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

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Before being a woman of action, Mother Teresa was a woman of prayer. This perhaps explains her intrepid strength in a life lived through the miseries and the sufferings of the world. She said of herself and of her sisters: “We are contemplative who live in the midst of the world. […] Our life must be a constant prayer” (R. Allegri,”Madre Teresa mi ha detto”, Ancora Editrice, Milano, 2010). Silence and prayer are even more necessary today to witness Christ with life and charity and to live our mission of men and women in an increasingly complex and difficult world.

In August 1946, she began to hear the “call within a call” as she herself defined it. It was the evening of September 10, while she was on the train going to the city of Darjeeling to do spiritual exercises: “That night I opened my eyes to suffering, and understood the essence of my vocation as its core […] I felt that the Lord was asking me to give up to the quiet life inside my religious community and go out into the streets to serve the poor. It was a command. It was not a suggestion or an invitation or a proposal […]”(R. Allegri, ibidem)). It was an inner calling, a voice in the silence of prayer that pushed her to open herself and serve the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa has been able to cultivate and practice the evangelical gift of welcome. Welcoming, first of all, in your own time, in your heart, going to find out who was lonely and abandoned. Mother Teresa has made the Church in communion, cutting down every wall of indifference and hypocrisy.

In front of the many calves of so many men and women of our time, in front of the crosses of men of every race and religion, Mother Teresa has been able to contemplate the face of Christ as the measurement of all those who give life for love. With the power of love, this sister who was herself the incarnation of charity, has been able to do a great thing, a divine thing; she gave a name, a dignity to every cross. What does it mean to give a name to the cross?

Jesus in his fullness of Messiah was no longer a Jew, he was the man: “Here is the man.” The name on the cross is Man. Our cultural, ethnic, religious distinctions may be important, but when it comes to the cross, when we die, they no longer matter. This equality is important because Jesus has taken it on himself as an appointment: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Mother Teresa has been attracted and attracted many to the cross of Jesus son of man, Savior of every man. That is why, just as Mother Teresa did, we must not ask for any religion defense policy, but we must strongly ask for the defense of man’s dignity.

There is an ecumenical and interreligious dialogue of charity, in which Mother Teresa believed a great deal: “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said that we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be an example to the people. We have 475 souls around us; of these, only 30 families are Catholics. The rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikh … They are all of different religions, but they all come to our prayers. ” (Lucinda Yardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, 1995)

As it is now known, Mother Teresa has also experienced the darkness of faith. In one of his posthumous letters, she wrote that she did not hear “the presence of God in either his heart or the Eucharist.” And she confided: “In my soul I experience just that terrible suffering of the absence of God, that God does not want me, that God is not God, that God does not really exist.”

In those years, Mother Teresa really offered herself to the mystery, once again with the supreme act of donation in love, which she describes with impressive words: “I have begun to love my darkness because I believe it is part of a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth” (Franca Zambonini,” Madre Teresa: “La mistica degli ultimi”, Paoline, 2003, pp. 33-34)

Mother Teresa has also been able to love the darkness, just like Jesus, who won death with love.

In our blog, in the past we collected some witnesses of devotion to Mother Teresa from an Indian salesian and Indian believers and non-believers.

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Ha saputo amare anche nelle tenebre

In memoria di Madre Teresa di Calcutta a 20 anni dalla scomparsa

Ricorre oggi il ventesimo anniversario della morte di Madre Teresa di Calcutta, straordinaria donna di fede e missionaria proclamata santa. Il segretario generale delle Nazioni Unite, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, il giorno della scomparsa della madre ebbe a dire : “Lei è le Nazioni Unite. Lei è la pace nel mondo.” Queste parole esprimono efficacemente l’ampiezza, la grandezza, la profondità del servizio alla vita che questa piccola donna ha saputo esprimere nella fede in Dio e nell’uomo, in ogni uomo. Oggi sulla sua tomba bianca nella casa di Calcutta i pellegrini di ogni tempo e di ogni fede possono leggere un versetto del Vangelo di Giovanni: “Amatevi gli uni gli altri come io ho amato voi” (Giovanni 15,12).

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Prima che essere donna d’azione, Madre Teresa era una donna di preghiera. Questo forse spiega la sua intrepida forza d’animo lungo una vita vissuta tra le miserie e le sofferenze del mondo. Diceva di se stessa e delle sue suore: “Siamo delle contemplative che vivono in mezzo al mondo. […] La nostra vita deve essere una preghiera continua” (R. Allegri, “Madre Teresa mi ha detto”, Ancora Editrice, Milano, 2010, pag. 59). Silenzio e preghiera sono ancor più necessari oggi per testimoniare Cristo con la vita e la carità, per vivere la nostra missione di uomini e di donne in un mondo sempre più complesso e difficile.

Nell’agosto del 1946 Madre Teresa cominciò a sentire la “ chiamata nella chiamata” come la definì lei stessa. Era la sera del 10 settembre in treno mentre andava nella città di Darjeeling per fare gli esercizi spirituali: “Quella notte aprii gli occhi sulla sofferenza e capii a fondo l’essenza della mia vocazione […] Sentivo che il Signore mi chiedeva di rinunciare alla vita tranquilla all’interno della mia congregazione religiosa per uscire nelle strade a servire i poveri. Era un ordine. Non era un suggerimento, un invito o una proposta […] ” (Cit. in Renzo Allegri, Madre Teresa mi ha detto, Ancora Editrice, Milano, 2010). Fu una chiamata interiore, una voce nel silenzio della preghiera che la spinse ad aprirsi all’accoglienza dei più poveri tra i poveri. Madre Teresa ha saputo coltivare e praticare il dono evangelico dell’accoglienza. Accogliere, prima di tutto nel proprio tempo, nel proprio cuore, andando a cercare chi era solo e abbandonato. Madre Teresa ha fatto la Chiesa in comunione, abbattendo ogni muro di indifferenza e di ipocrisia.

Davanti ai tanti calvari di tanti uomini e donne del nostro tempo, davanti alle croci degli uomini di ogni razza e religione, Madre Teresa ha saputo contemplare il volto di Cristo, come l’unità di misura di tutti quelli che danno la vita per amore. Con la forza dell’amore, questa suora che era in se stessa la carità, ha saputo fare una cosa grandiosa, una cosa divina; ha dato un nome, una dignità ad ogni croce. Cosa significa dare un nome alla croce ?

Gesù nella sua pienezza di Messia non era più un ebreo, era l’uomo: “Ecco l’uomo”. Il nome sulla croce è Uomo. Hanno certamente importanza le nostre distinzioni culturali, etniche, religiose ma quando si è in croce, quando si muore non contano più. Questa uguaglianza nel negativo è importante, perché Gesù l’ha assunta su di sé come un appuntamento: «Quando sarò sollevato sulla croce attirerò tutti a me». Tutti. Madre Teresa si è lasciata attirare ed ha attirato moltissimi alla croce di Gesù figlio dell’uomo, Salvatore di ogni uomo. Ecco perché, esattamente come ha fatto Madre Teresa non dobbiamo chiedere alla politica nessuna difesa della religione, ma dobbiamo chiedere con forza la difesa della dignità dell’uomo, di ogni uomo.

Ci sono un ecumenismo e un dialogo intereligioso della carità, in cui Madre Tereesa credeva molto: “C’è un solo Dio, ed è Dio per tutti; è per questo importante che ognuno appaia uguale dinnanzi a Lui. Ho sempre detto che dobbiamo aiutare un indù a diventare un indù migliore, un musulmano a diventare un musulmano migliore ed un cattolico a diventare un cattolico migliore. Crediamo che il nostro lavoro debba essere d’esempio alla gente. Attorno noi abbiamo 475 anime: di queste, solo 30 famiglie sono cattoliche. Le altre sono indù, musulmane, sikh… Sono tutti di religioni diverse, ma tutti quanti vengono alle nostre preghiere”. (Lucinda Yardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, 1995.)

Com’e’ ormai noto, Madre Teresa ha anche sperimentato il buio della fede. In una delle sue lettere pubblicate postume scriveva di non sentire “la presenza di Dio né nel suo cuore né nell’Eucaristia”. E confidava : “Nella mia anima sperimento proprio quella terribile sofferenza dell’assenza di Dio, che Dio non mi voglia, che Dio non sia Dio, che Dio non esista veramente”.

In quegli anni, Madre Teresa si è offerta veramente tutta al mistero, ancora una volta con l’atto supremo di donazione nell’amore, che lei descrive con parole impressionanti: “Ho cominciato ad amare le mie tenebre perché credo che siano una parte, una piccola parte delle tenebre di Gesù e della Sua pena sulla terra“( Franca Zambonini, “Madre Teresa: la mistica degli ultimi”, Paoline, 2003, pagg. 33-34).

Madre Teresa ha saputo amare anche le tenebre, proprio come Gesù che ha vinto la morte con l’amore.

Nel nostro blog abbiamo in passato raccolto delle testimonianze di devozione verso Madre Teresa dall’India e dalla Cina.

 


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Indians: Mother Teresa, truly a saint !

We are happy to receive and post some reflections about Mother Teresa received from India – Catholics, Hindus and non-believers. These once again confirm the love and highest esteem that Indians have for this woman who put at the center of her life the poorest of the poor.

“It is our great privilege to celebrate the canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa”, states Fr. Jerin, who is from Kerala, a state where there is a strong Catholic presence. “She is more than a mere religious figure for Indians. Mother is pure and radical symbol of unconditional love, deep sense of compassion, strong faithfulness towards God and the real face of Christian Charity for Indian civilization.” Fr. Jerin, who studied in Rome a few years ago, continues: “Her canonisation is an honour to our own society, in which the democratic values have a deep roots. Mother Teresa Sisters are still promising figures and extraordinary Christian testimonies among other religious communities”.

According to the father, the whole India is awaiting for September 4, when the blessed Mother Teresa will be canonised in St. Peter by Pope Francis. Kolkata, which is the adopted hometown of Mother Teresa, is the powerhouse of celebrations, that take place all over Indian States. Various  delegations, including religious, political and regional representatives, will participate in the ceremony in Rome. The father explains that symposiums, film festivals, open air galleries, road shows, and many more initiatives have started to cherish each moments of this unforgettable event as a sincere tribute to Mother Teresa. Masses, prayer vigils, novenas, processions, relic veneration rallies, pilgrimages to Mother Teresa Centeres are the main attractions of spiritual preparations organized by Christian Communities.

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Among the Indian non-Christians, Mr. Shantanu, originally from North of India, is enthusiastic: “She is truly a Saint! Totally selfless and always in the service of those sufferers who are the most unfortunate and the most disadvantaged, marginalised and excluded of all.” He also feels that “Mother Teresa’s passionate engagement in this most humane of causes deserves every recognition – and the sainthood is indeed a fitting award consistent with her sacrifice (even if she did not consider it that way – at all!) which is another compelling reason for this accolade.”

According to Mrs. Vasundhara, a Hindu lady in her fifties, “Mother Teresa holds a special meaning for most Indians whether or not they belong to the Catholic religion. For the poor people of this part of the world she has always been a Saint – who left her home in Central Europe – far far away and came as an angel of hope.”  Mrs. Vasundhara continues by recalling what Mother Teresa did for the abandoned ones, providing caring for those who were rejected by their families and by Society – at large – excluded for no fault of theirs – other than their falling victims of disease. “She was brave and transcended fear of infection – in embracing them and accepting them and nursing them in her ‘home’, showing extreme magnanimity and generosity! She was loved and admired universally – by people of all religions, and of any caste or creed. A goddess incarnate!”.

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Around St. Peter square the day before the canonization cerimony

Another Hindu lady, Mrs Roy, had various opportunities to meet Mother Teresa and shared something from that experience with us. “Luckily, I have met her three times when I lived in Rome in the 80s and 90s. She was always so affectionate and blessed my little son each time. He has done very well in life – both academically and in career”. Mrs Roy believes that this encounter with Mother Teresa might have worked unconsciously in contributing to his decision to have worked for two months when he was in his twenties, with an NGO in Kolkata focused on the welfare of disadvantaged children. “A wonderful experience for a young person with desire to end misery for the unfortunate children” – she adds. “To me, Mother Teresa struck me as divine – no less. She had an aura around her which showed that she was indeed very special already, forty years ago. The sainthood she is receiving now is only a natural extension of the way she lived her life – for the benefit of humanity and in the service of mankind. Her contribution to the cause of the poor and the downtrodden is unsurpassed.”


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I miei incontri con Santa Madre Teresa

Pubblichiamo una bella e commovente condivisione del nostro caro amico padre Valerian, sacerdote salesiano indiano che vive nello Stato del Maharashtra, dove si trova la grande città di Mumbai (Bombay). Ci scrive in occasione della prossima tanto attesa canonizzazione di Madre Teresa di Calcutta, che si terrà a San Pietro domenica prossima e sarà presieduta da Papa Francesco. Questa testimonianza di padre Valerian ci rende da una parte molto grati a lui per aver voluto condividere queste esperienze di conoscenza diretta di Madre Teresa, che gli sono rimaste così profondamente nel cuore e nei ricordi. Dall’altra parte non possiamo non provare un po’ di “rammarico” per non aver potuto molti di noi avere la fortuna di incontrare questa piccola grande santa dei nostri tempi. Che Madre Teresa dal Cielo possa venire incontro a tutti noi con il suo amore materno e la sua intercessione.

Dall’India Padre Valerian Pereira, sdb

C’e’ un detto “ vivere con i santi in cielo porta onore e gloria, ma vivere con i santi sulla terra è piuttosto una storia diversa, si tratta più che altro di “pseudo-santi”. Madre Teresa, che ho avuto la fortuna di incontrare alcune volte in India e sarà canonizzata da Papa Francesco domenica prossima 4 settembre a San Pietro, certamente non era una pseudo-santa, come la stigmatizzavano alcuni critici.

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Il mio primo contatto personale con questa suora fu all’aeroporto di Mumbai nel 1987. Dopo aver superato i controlli di sicurezza in sala partenze, vidi una folla di gente in piedi in soggezione che guardava una persona che era seduta in silenzio, tutta da sola. Appena mi sono avvicinato alla scena, ho riconosciuto Madre Teresa nel suo sari bianco bordato di blu e la sua semplice borsa. Qualcosa dentro mi ha spinto di avvicinarmi a lei. Con un dolce sorriso e un cenno di benvenuto, mi ha invitato a sedermi al suo fianco. Mi sono così presentato come un sacerdote salesiano di San Giovanni Bosco. Gia’dall’inizio della nostra breve conversazione, ha avuto con me un approccio molto materno. Le ho detto che ero a Pune e le ho chiesto più di un “autografo” – un messaggio per la mia comunità di giovani seminaristi. Questo è quello che ha scritto: “Insegnate ai vostri seminaristi a trovare gioia nel sacrificio.” Mi sono ricordato delle parole di mamma Margherita al figlio, Giovanni Bosco, appena fu ordinato sacerdote: “Ricorda, essere prete significa cominciare a soffrire.” Nel corso degli anni ho capito che “la gioia nel sacrificio” è l’essenza della maternità, proprio come essere genitori. Ho potuto sperimentare questo insegnamento di saggezza, e anche le difficoltà in quanto sacerdote e pastore salesiano.

Ogni volta che le era possibile, Madre Teresa partecipava alle riunioni annuali del CRI (Conferenza dei religiosi indiani). Quello che mi colpiva e’ che nonostante partecipasse quasi sempre in silenzio e senza pretese, la sua presenza umile e i suoi colloqui vivaci con i membri dell’Assemblea durante le pause erano un’occasione formativa di grande influenza su tutti noi.

Ma il mio ricordo più bello di Madre Teresa e’ stato era durante gli esercizi spirituali che fui invitato a presiedere per le Missionarie della Carità a Calcutta nel 1990. I partecipanti erano le superiori di molte comunità delle Missionarie della Carità provenienti dall’Africa Orientale e dall’Asia. Vi avrebbe partecipato anche la loro fondatrice, appunto Madre Teresa. Madre Teresa arrivo’ all’aeroporto a tarda notte, la sera prima degli esercizi. Fu accolta affettuosamente da un piccolo gruppo di suore ed fu trattata con rispetto dai funzionari dell’immigrazione. Tuttavia, si presentò un problema. La giovane novizia dalla Polonia che accompagnava Madre Teresa fu fermata all’ Immigrazione poiché, a quel tempo, la Polonia comunista non aveva relazioni diplomatiche con l’India. Non fu possibile contattare il capo dell’Ufficio dell’Immigrazione per chiedere un permesso speciale. Il funzionario in servizio in quel momento suggerì a Madre Teresa di recarsi al suo convento mentre loro si occupavano della sorella polacca in attesa di ottenere il permesso d’ingresso. Madre Teresa rimase con la suora dicendo: “Avete trattenuto mia figlia pertanto io devo stare con lei.” Il responsabile dell’immigrazione fu finalmente contattato alle 2 di notte e fu concesso il permesso d’ingresso per la giovane novizia. Che grande testimonianza materna di “gioia nel sacrificio”!

La mattina successiva, nonostante una notte insonne, Madre Teresa era presente puntualmente alle 7 nella cappella, per la prima meditazione. Con devozione partecipò a tutti i momenti liturgici, ascoltando con attenzione seduta nell’ultima fila. Sopraffatto dalla sua presenza umile, dopo ogni meditazione mi sedevo al suo fianco invitandola a condividere le proprie riflessioni – cosa che ha fatto con umiltà e rispetto. Mentre io predicavo dalla parte anteriore della sala, da un piedistallo di teoria, lei predicava dal lato in fondo alla stanza, con parole incarnate in atti di totale donazione della sua vita e di amore materno per i poveri, i malati e gli abbandonati.

Predicare alla presenza di una santa che ho sempre tenuto in alta considerazione, e’ stato un privilegio, seppur imbarazzante. Pertanto, quando lei mi si avvicinò con fiducia filiale per ricevere un supporto spirituale seguito dalla sua confessione, il mio nervosismo non conosceva limiti: non riuscivo proprio a ricordare la formula di assoluzione! Madre Teresa era una penitente che mi ha convertito in un confessore pentito.

Alla fine del ritiro, Madre Teresa mi ringrazio’ profusamente donandomi gentilmente un rosario per mia madre. Accetto’ perfino di venire a visitare la città dei ragazzi di Don Bosco a Nairobi il giorno seguente. Sfortunatamente non poté fare la visita perché contrasse l’influenza.

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In un mondo terrorizzato e lacerato dalle forze dell’odio e della distruzione e in una società piena di crimini contro la dignità delle donne, la canonizzazione di Madre Teresa il 4 settembre si distinguerà come un faro di disinteressato amore materno. Questa canonizzazione non sono annovererà Madre Teresa tra i Santi della Chiesa Cattolica, ma ispirerà tutte le persone a riconoscere e rispettare il volto “materno” di Dio nel volto di ogni donna che incontriamo sul nostro cammino e vive nelle nostre case.

Possa la Parola di Dio “qualunque cosa avrete fatto al più piccolo dei miei fratelli e sorelle, lo avrete fatto a me”, concretizzarsi nelle nostre vite, come ha fatto nella vita della grande missionaria della carità, la “materna Santa Teresa”.


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My brief encounters with Saint “Mother” Teresa

We are happy to post a beautiful and touching sharing of our dearest friend fr. Valerian, a Salesian Indian priest living in the State of Maharashtra, the the big city of Mumbai (Bombay) is located. He writes us on the occasion of the forthcoming and much waited for canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, which will take place in St. Pietro next Sunday and will be presided by Pope Francis. this witness by Fr. Valerian ok one side makes us very grateful to him to have shared these direct experiences of knowing personally Mother Teresa, experiences that he keeps in his heart and as memories.  On the other side we cannot but feel some regret for not being able – many of us – to meet this little yet big saint of our times. Let us pray that Mother teresa be closer to us with het maternal love and her intercession. 

From India Fr. Valerian Pereira, sdb

Whoever said: to live with the saints in heaven is all honour and glory, but to live with the saints on earth is quite a different story, must be talking of pseudo-saints. Mother Teresa, who will be canonized by Pope Francis on 4th September 2016, to me was certainly no pseudo-saint, as a few biased critics make her out to be.

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My first personal contact with this frail looking nun was at the Mumbai airport in 1987. As I walked through security into the departure lounge, I saw a crowd of passengers standing in awe and gazing at a person who was seated quietly, all by herself. As I got closer to the scene, I recognized Mother Teresa in her blue-bordered white sari and her simple wooden-handle shopping bag. Something within impelled me to approach her. With a gentle smile and a welcome nod, she invited me to sit down by her side and as I did, I introduced myself as a priest and a Salesian of Don Bosco. Right from the start of our brief conversation, she came across to me as very motherly. I told her I was in Pune and requested her for more than an “autograph” – a message for my community of young seminarians. This is what she wrote: “Teach your seminarians to find joy in sacrifice.” I was reminded of Mama Margaret’s words to her newly ordained son, John Bosco: “Remember, to be a priest is to begin to suffer.” Over the years, I have understood that “joy in sacrifice” is the essence of motherhood, just as it is of all true parenting. I have experienced its wisdom and have felt its challenge in my own attempts at being a Salesian priest and pastor.

Her precious time permitting, Mother Teresa attended the annual meetings of the CRI (Conference of Religious India). What impressed me was that though she sat through the sessions, mostly quiet and without pretensions, her humble presence and lively interaction with members of the assembly during breaks had a formative influence on us all.

But my best memory of Mother Teresa was a spiritual retreat I was invited to animate for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta back in 1990. The retreatants were superiors of the many Missionaries of Charity communities in East Africa and Asia and their foundress was to attend as well. Mother Teresa arrived at the airport late night on the eve of the retreat. She was received warmly by a small group of sisters, and was treated respectfully by the immigration and customs officials. However, there was one problem. The young novice from Poland who accompanied Mother Teresa was held up at the immigration desk since, at that time, communist Poland had no diplomatic relations with India. The Chief Immigration Officer could not be immediately contacted for special clearance. The officer on duty suggested that Mother Teresa could proceed to her convent. The Polish sister, they assured her, would be well cared for while she awaited clearance. Mother Teresa remained with the sister saying: “You have held back my daughter and I must stay with her.” The Chief Immigration Officer was finally contacted by 2 a.m. and an entry permit was granted to the young novice. What a motherly testimony of “joy in sacrifice”!

The next morning, despite a sleepless night, Mother Teresa was punctually present at 7 a.m. in the chapel, for the first meditation conference of the retreat. She devoutly participated in all the liturgical services and listened attentively to the talks while seated in the last row. Overwhelmed by her humble presence, I concluded each talk by sitting by her side and inviting her to share her own reflections on the topic. She did so, humbly and reverently. While I preached from the front, from a pedestal of theory, she preached from the back pew with words incarnated in life-giving acts of selfless motherly love for the poor, sick and abandoned.

Preaching in the presence of a saint whom I always held in high esteem, was a privilege albeit embarrassing. Therefore, when she approached me with childlike confidence for spiritual guidance that was followed by her confession, my nervousness knew no bounds: I just could not remember the formula of absolution! Instead, Mother Teresa was one penitent who converted me into a repentant confessor.

At the end of the retreat, she thanked me profusely and graciously gifted a rosary for my own mother. She even accepted my request to visit Don Bosco Boys Town in Nairobi the following day. Unfortunately, she could not make it as she had caught the flu.

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In a world terrorized and torn apart by forces of hate and destruction; in a society rife with crimes against the dignity of women the canonization of Mother Teresa on September 4 will stand out like a beacon of selfless motherly love. It will not only place her among the saints of the Catholic Church, but will inspire all people to recognize and respect God’s “motherly” countenance in the face of every woman who walks on our streets and lives in our homes.

May God’s Word, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me”, find concrete expression in our lives as it did in the life of the great Missionary of Charity, the “Motherly Saint Teresa”.


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Among the poorest of the poor in India

We are very pleased to post the first contribution to our blog by Fr. Bryan Lobo, a Jesuit from India, who is professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome. We are very grateful to Fr. Bryan for taking the time to share with us something about the amazing work that the Jesuit Fathers are doing among the poorest and most marginalised people in India. We are full of admiration for the dedication of Fr. Neelam Lopes, S.J., who leads such work, particularly supporting tribal communities to improve their living conditions through socio-economic, educational and health programmes. We do hope that from time to time both Fr. Bryan and Fr. Neelam will continue to inform us about the life and activities of the Church of this great country – India. From our side, we keep Fr. Neelam and the people he helps in our hearts and prayers and we will continue to provide our support to some of his activities.

Fr. Bryan Lobo, S.J

Last year, during my usual annual visit in India during the summer time, I had the joy to celebrate the liturgy with Fr. Neelam Lopes, S.J., Superior of the Missions in Shirpur (North Maharashtra, India). In the photos I am pleased to share I and Fr. Neelam are celebrating Mass in the Indian style for the tribals.

The people of this area belong to the Pawara tribe, a native tribe that is found in the western and central parts of Maharashtra. The Masses are normally celebrated, as seen in the photographs, in one of the halls constructed by the Catholic missionaries. The saffron colored shawls worn by the celebrants is significant to the Indian culture. The color saffron signifies renunciation. Saffron colored clothes are normally used by celibate Hindus (monks and nuns). The language used during the liturgy in these areas is Marathi, which is not the mother tongue of the Pawaras. Marathi is normally the language used during formal functions and in educational institutions. Most of the women seen in the photographs have covered their heads. It is part of the culture of the married Pawara women to cover their heads as a sign of respect.

 

 

 

 

 

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     Fr. Neelam (left) and Fr. Bryan (right) celebrating the Eucharist during the Mass.  (c)Bryan Lobo/Francesco Pesce

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Fr. Neelam (the first one, wearing a yellow scarf) and Fr. Bryan (sitting close to him wearing an orange scarf ) during the Mass. (c)Bryan Lobo/Francesco Pesce

 

 


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Jesus is Risen! Alleluia!! Easter song as sung in a small town of India!

We are happy to publish the first blog post of Fr. Pinto, from India, another dearest friend of ours. He is such a wonderful person and very committed and always smiling priest. We often remember him and are grateful to him for great help he gave to us in our pastoral work. We miss him very much but we are happy to see that he is doing well in that great country of India. We are still in Easter time so that sharing this experience of him and his community is still relevant and meaningful.

Fr. Pinto Rockwin

For Christians, Holy Week, starting on Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday (March 27 this year) is considered the source and summit of ecclesiastical and liturgical year. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday along with Easter Sunday – are called sacred Triduum whereby Christians commemorate the last days of Jesus here on Earth when he expressed his deep most love for His people through his passion, death and resurrection.

Here, I narrate these three-day experiences of a small town called Kulur in the city of Mangalore, India. The parish is dedicated to the patronage of St. Antony of Padova. On Maundy Thursday, reliving the cenacle experience of Jesus, for the first time, women were included in washing of the feet of the disciples as per the Pope’s directive (see photos). Priest who is considered as a an eminent figure in the society here, the washing of the feet communicates a very formidable message of service and humility as intended by our Lord.

On Good Friday, apart from the liturgical service as prescribed by the Liturgy, there is a particular custom in this part of the world. They call it ‘Bringing down Jesus from the Cross’. A group of persons come in with lanterns and climb the ladder first to remove the nails and then, to bring His body down from the cross followed by the procession of the statue of Jesus and Or Lady of Sorrows in the town (See images). Incidentally, this year witnessed the culmination of 25 years to this custom.

Finally, on Holy Saturday, the church filled with the faithful participated in the luminous liturgy of Easter night and renewed their Baptismal vows. People usually abstain from eating meat throughout the Lent season, thereby, day of Easter when the angels sing, ‘Glory’, peoples acclaim, ‘Alleluia’, they enjoy their fellowship meal in their families. Being a Catholic Priest from few months I sincerely experienced the profound significance of these moments which we commemorate every Sunday, on the day of the Lord.