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Mother Teresa – III: The Legacy of Mother Teresa



Welcome to our special program on the Year of Faith, THE FAITHFUL WITNESS, a series on the lives of Inspiring People and Witnesses of faith in the Catholic Church from around the world. These are people who lived their ordinary lives in extraordinary ways. They are examples of great fortitude and virtue. Their unique stories inspire us to be rooted in our faith. God calls each one of us today to inspire our brothers and sisters and to be witnesses of our faith.
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The Faithful Witness of this week is Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. In this month of September, hundreds of thousands of people converge on the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity in the Indian city of Kolkata, to pay homage to its founder, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. People from all walks of life streams into her tomb in the mother house to pray to her.
Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity. Her response to Jesus’ plea, “Come be My light,” made her a Missionary of Charity, a “mother to the poor,” a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God.
Pope John Paul II beatified her on 19th October 2003, just six years after her death.
During the last two weeks we listened to the Early years of Mother Teresa, and her new found vocation to serve the poorest of the poor, what she called a ‘call within a call’. Let us now listen to the legacy of Mother Teresa which inspires millions even today.xxxOn 7 October 1950 the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. Here is what Mother Teresa said about the starting of the Missionaries of Charity.
Insert: voice of Mother Teresa
By the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her Sisters to other parts of India. The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.
In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers, and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Yet her inspiration was not limited to those with religious vocations. She formed the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, people of many faiths and nationalities with whom she shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and her apostolate of humble works of love. This spirit later inspired the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests as a “little way of holiness” for those who desire to share in her charism and spirit.
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During the years of rapid growth of the Missionaries of Charity, the world began to turn its eyes towards Mother Teresa and the work she had started. Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, honoured her work, while an increasingly interested media began to follow her activities. She received prizes and brought focus on the poor around the world.
Mother Teresa received the Nobel peace prize in the name of the poor. In her acceptance speech she said:
Insert: voice of Mother Teresa
The whole of Mother Teresa’s life and labour bore witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God. Mother shared her own experience of receiving from the poor much more than what she has given to them.
Insert: voice of Mother Teresa
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You have been listening to THE FAITHFUL WITNESS our weekly series based on the lives of Inspiring People and Witnesses of faith in the Catholic Church from around the world. Our Faithful Witness today has been Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. If you have a faith experience to share with us, let us know. Visit our website radiovaticana.va. This program is brought to you by Vatican Radio’s English Service for South Asia. By P.J. Joseph SJ
FRIDAY, 20 September 2013




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