Opening of the Novena for the Feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Opening of the Novena for the Feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Bishop Kevin Doran
Wednesday 27th August 2014, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo 

Mother Teresa was born early in the last century in Albania (a country which subsequently knew a vicious communist dictatorship). Long before that happened, she had left for Ireland, where she entered formation with the Loreto Congregation, and subsequently went to join their mission in India. There were two “sending communities”; two communities of faith, one which nourished her in her early life and the other which helped prepare her for mission. We are reminded that a Church which sends people on mission is a living Church. If we are not as alive today as we might be, perhaps it is because we have lost sight of mission.

Mother Teresa is well known for her care of those who are on the margins, but also for her worship of Christ in the Bl. Sacrament. Action and contemplation feed into one another. Time spent in the presence of the Lord helps us to see Him in one another and especially in the least of our brothers and sisters. We honour him in his Eucharistic Body. We honour him in his broken body – the Church. We Christians don’t have a monopoly on love. But our love is unique in one respect in that it is rooted in and grows out of the love of Jesus.

In our first reading this evening, St. Paul tells us that if someone refuses to work he should not be given food to eat. Mother. Teresa fed and nursed all those poor destitute people. Why? Because there is a world of difference between refusing to work and being denied the possibility of work, as so many are in our society today.

The Feast of St Monica is a very good day to start this novena. Monica never ceased to pray for her son Augustine and to seek his conversion. Mother Teresa in a similar way was tireless in the care of her daughters and sons. Monica and her son shared a spiritual journey. In another way, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul shared a spiritual journey. It is good this year that we can celebrate her novena in a year when we have celebrated his canonisation.

This evening, we also give thanks that there are actually many more “sending” communities. We have five Missionary of Charity sisters here in Sligo, all from different countries. We give thanks to God for the witness of their life among us. It is good to remember that they have not come either to pray or to serve instead of us, to by their prayer and service to encourage us also to imitate the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta