ASIA/INDIA - The Missionaries of Charity: "to live like the poor among the poorest, to bear witness with them to God's love"

Saturday, 28 May 2022 mission   charity   religious institutes   poverty   evangelization  

Calcutta (Agenzia Fides) - "Our whole existence revolves around the love for Jesus towards the poor, because our foundress, Mother Teresa, taught us that Jesus is in them. This is the principle that guides all of our existence and transforms our days into a continuous encounter with Christ: giving the Eucharist, visiting the poorest of the poor, giving them food, clothes, caring for them is a gesture of love towards Christ himself". This is what Sister Mary Prema, of German origin, former Superior General of the Order, says in an interview with Fides, speaking of the missionary commitment that the nuns carry out all over the world, caring especially for the poor and the sick. Taking care of the most needy, orphans and lepers - explains Sister Mary - is the fulcrum of the charism of this congregation which, after more than 70 years since its foundation, now has 6,000 religious women scattered in 123 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, America.
"It is a life following Jesus Christ with the four vows of the Congregation: poverty, obedience, chastity and free service to the poorest of the poor. We are not called only to be efficient, but in everything we do we wish to satisfy the thirst of Christ in the Cross at the service of the poor. Our vow is of poverty", said Sister Mary.
Mother Teresa distinguished between physical suffering and spiritual suffering: "Here in Calcutta - says the missionary - we see that it is much easier for us to carry out the physical services of the 'corporal works of mercy': taking care and looking after dying people, giving medical assistance to the sick and helping the homeless in our homes. The spiritual services of charity - she continues - require a much greater commitment. We can react to the suffering of the soul above all with our prayers".
The mission of the Sisters of Mother Teresa is therefore "to work for the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor wherever they are throughout the world, transforming the love of God into concrete actions such as: caring for the needy, the sick and the dying materially and spiritually, to gather street children to instruct them, taking care of beggars, lepers and their families and, in general, taking care of those who are marginalized, those who are not loved, those who are alone".
Each sister - she explains - goes where she is sent and does not choose either the place or the type of apostolate. "We serve the poor - adds Sister Mary - in the sense that we try to be one of them. We too are the poorest of the poor, because with them and like them we are in search of Jesus. Jesus who is in our hearts, serving Him present in the poor. And there is no privileged place to do this, one can serve the poor Jesus in every corner of the world, because in every corner of the world - she concludes - one experiences the same reality of the search for Jesus, in those who do not know him and in those who are excluded".
The Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was founded on 7 October 1950 by Mother Teresa of Calcutta who on October 19, 2003 was beatified by Pope John Paul II. (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 28/5/2022)