The archbishop of Ranchi speaks about the decree Pope Francis signed this morning, telling AsiaNews about his deep personal friendship with the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, which began in 1978 when he was appointed Bishop of Dumka. He also speaks about the future saint’s work on behalf of nature and the environment, as evinced by her determination to live in poverty.
Ranchi (AsiaNews) - This morning Pope Francis signed the decree for the canonisation of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, deciding that the founder of the Missionaries of Charity will be declared a saint on 4 September in Rome.
AsiaNews presents Card Telesphore Toppo’s memories. In them, the archbishop of Ranchi describes how, as a young bishop, he had the privilege of driving the Mother in his car.
"I was feeling timid sitting next to someone like her,” he writes. When he asked her, “where do you get the strength to do all that you are doing? Her reply came with the speed of bullet: Jesus in the Eucharist.”
Mother is the Image of God’s Mercy and in this Jubilee of Mercy, the Universal Church and Church in India and Asia are overjoyed and grateful.
My personal association with Mother began when I was appointed Bishop of Dumka in 1978 and I wrote a personal note to Mother Teresa inviting her Missionaries of Charity to open a house in our diocese. Mother Teresa was most prompt in sending her daughters/sisters and, since 1978, I have shared a deep personal friendship with Mother Teresa.
The canonisation of Mother will be a great missionary impetus to Asia and also the Universal Church. We offer joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that India gives to the Universal Church and the Global Community- Our Mother Teresa of Kolkata.
Mother Teresa's life was driven by a passion to build lives through forgiveness, healing, giving them respect and through making them true human beings in the image and likeness of God.
Mother Teresa was very conscious of Ecology and her duty towards nature and wanted it to be included in her life. Her insistence on poverty in life is a fine illustration of this.
When Mother Teresa was around 13 or 14 years old, she was listened to talks by two Albanian Jesuits working in the Kolkata mission, that included Ranchi, - who on their return home to Albanian on a visit- gave talks to school children in an effort to promote missionary vocations and to raise funds for their mission. One of those who heard them was a teenage school girl called Agnes and as she listened attentively to one of the missionaries who told about what was happening among the Tribals in Ranchi, and she decided to come to India to work among Ranchi Tribals.
When I was a young bishop, one day I had the privilege to take Mother Teresa in my car. She was accompanied by three of her Missionaries of Charity Sisters. From them I came to know that Mother Teresa had worked till past midnight re-organizing their community. She was sitting next to me in the front seat and naturally I was feeling timid sitting next to someone like her. But being a true Mother she told me to sit comfortably. This gave me courage. I said: ‘Mother I was told that you worked very late last night. You are not young any more. From where do you get the strength to do all that you are doing? Her reply came with the speed of bullet: JESUS in the Eucharist.’
We exult for the Joy of the Merciful Father in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy!