08/08/2009, 00.00
INDIA
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Mother Teresa: the power of love almost 100 years after her birth

by Nirmala Carvalho
Adoptions to defeat abortion; commitment to the dying; attention to spiritual poverty: the work of Mother Teresa is still very much alive and attracting many vocations and volunteers.

  Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born August 27 1910. In a few weeks the year marking 100 years since her birth begins. AsiaNews explores the signs of the vitality of her charisma, in a conversation with Sr. Gilbert M, superior of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) in the Maharashtra-Goa region.

Sr M Gilbert entered the MC in 1965. She lived in Latin America for many years and before becoming regional superior, she worked for 8 years in Calcutta, in Formation House for sisters.

Almost 100 years after the birth of Mother Teresa, I am a witness to the great respect for the life she inspired. Every day, many married couples come to our homes with the desire to adopt children. These couples wait patiently until the entire process and the documents are completed. These people follow her teaching: Fight abortion by adoption. Unfortunately, we know that there is a culture of death, but here, in our case I can not see a culture of death, but rather a great respect for life.

How important is the testimony of Mother Teresa in the world today?

Our founder, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, spoke of love with love. Mother has always offered love and hope to the most disadvantaged. Her life was a combination of simplicity, sacrifice and strength in service to others. Serving the poorest of the poor was the motto of Mother Teresa, the way in which to "quench the thirst of Jesus."

How alive is her charism among you?

Mother Teresa devoted her life to giving hope to the despairing, covering them with love. As we approach the centenary of her birth, we too, the Missionaries of Charity dedicate ourselves to serving the poorest of the poor to satisfy the thirst of Jesus. We are not social workers. Today the poor are both those who lack material resources, and those who are poor in spirit. Our mission is to serve both with love. And Mother Teresa was very clear: "It is not the greatness of our actions that is important, but how much love you put into what you do." In our house Asha Dan (Gift of Hope ") in Byculla (central Mumbai), those who are dying each day are collected from the streets and brought to us. So every the poorest of the poor are given a chance to experience dignity through love. Many have spent many years on the street, others - men and women - are left on the road by their relatives, because they are dying of some terminal illness ... With joy and a smile, we serve them. And this thanks to Mother Teresa’s teaching. They have suffered a lot, physically and spiritually, of neglect and abysmal poverty, but they die here, immersed in love.

Have you ever experienced persecution or hostility in your mission?

Wherever I was, I always received a friendly reception, but I know that unfortunately, in some places, our mission is not understood and treated with hostility. However, our sisters - or rather, Mother Teresa - are recognizable by our simple sari with blue stripes, but especially because we care for the old, the sick, the abandoned, the dying, the unloved.

Are there new vocations? Does Mother Teresa still inspire people?

The Missionaries of Charity have vocations. I was in the formation house for the last 8 years and by the grace of God, many girls say yes to the call of God. Mother Teresa’s charisma of service and sacrifice leads many girls to give their lives in sacrifice for others.

In addition to vocations, people of all social strata come to the Mother House to pray at her tomb. In addition, hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers, drawn from what they have read or seen or heard of Mother Teresa and her work come from all over the world to lend their service in the various houses of the sisters. Serving with all their heart they find a meaning to life as well as joy and peace in their lives and return to their reality rendered humble by the power of love.

 
 
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