On the eve of the 111th birthday of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, five Missionaries of Charity arrived in Rome from Kabul with 14 disabled Afghan children. The sisters, members of the religious community Mother Teresa founded in 1950 and lived with until her death in 1997, have run an orphanage for children since 2006 in Afghanistan. It was Italy that got them out of the country as the Taliban has taken over.
Mother Teresa could help us during these violent, uncertain days. British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge interviewed her for a 1969 TV documentary and 1971 book, both by the title “Something Beautiful for God.” Muggeridge was a skeptic of religion at the time — he would eventually become Catholic — but was mesmerized by the “divine light” he saw in and around the work of the Missionaries of Charity, who dedicated themselves to God and service of the poorest of the poor.
During their discussions, Muggeridge asked Mother Teresa whether one of the “troubles” of our time is that we always insist “there must be some collective solution.” Muggeridge mused that the modern man would say: “There is Mother Teresa, she saves so many people, she helps so many people, she saves so many children. But this is just a fleabite; this is nothing; there must be some other way of doing it. And his feeling about this makes him less inclined to throw himself in the way that you want into the sort of work that you’re doing.”
“I do not agree with the big way of doing things,” Mother Teresa replied. “To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person, we must come in close contact with him. If we wait till we get the numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers. And we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person. I believe in person to person; every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is only one person in the world for me at that moment.”
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