Mother Teresa once said, “If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy!”
St. Teresa of Kolkata firmly believed that without prayer, the work of caring for others simply cannot be done. The Yugoslavian-born woman religious founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 in Kolkata, India, serving the poorest of the poor. In 1979, Mother Teresa visited St. Louis with three Missionaries of Charity and started a community here. It was the second community the religious order established in the United States.
St. Teresa believed that the sisters’ work should be rooted in the Eucharist. Visitors to the sisters’ soup kitchen in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood in north St. Louis will notice that Mass is the first order of the day, before any food is given to those in need. Spiritual nourishment, followed by the physical. It’s been the mission of the Missionaries of Charity from its beginnings, inspired by their foundress.
The sisters see their lives as seamless, with four hours of prayer woven into each day, along with their apostolate of service, which includes the soup kitchen, an emergency shelter for women and their children, after-school program and summer camp for children and catechesis. The sisters frequently visit with people and walk the streets to meet others in the community, learning how they can best serve them.
Prayer allowed her to love Christ and to experience His love in return. That love translated into a love for the people that St. Teresa served throughout her life. She once said: “The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.”
After almost 50 years of loving and serving the poor throughout the world, she died on Sept. 5, 1997, at the age of 87. She was canonized on Sept. 4, 2016. Her feast day is Sept. 5.
Prayer for the intercession of St. Teresa of Kolkata
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus (here make your request). Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for me.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for me.
(Courtesy of Missionaries of Charity)