Mother Teresa’s Feet


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Mother Teresa loved the needy so much
that she wanted them to have
the best of the worst rather than the worst.

Mother Teresa's feet

A close up photograph of Mother Teresa’s left foot.

Social activist and author Shane Claiborne, a leading figure in the New Monasticism movement lives in Philadelphia, PA. He is a founding member of The Simple Way, a faith community in Philadelphia that has helped to connect radical faith communities around the world.

Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne

Shane graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. He and his co-members of the Simple Way community practice an innovative form of monasticism. They cherish hospitality and practice communal living and they endeavor to bond with those residing in their neighborhood. They focus on issues such as poverty and wealth, power and violence.

Shane’s ministry experience is varied; during the war in Iraq, he spent three weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team.

Shane had the fortune of working for 10-weeks alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta. In most parts of India, it is a custom for everyone to remove their shoes when entering any place of worship. Shane noticed that when Mother Teresa took her shoes off for daily prayer, her feet were knobby, gnarled, deformed and pressed in the wrong directions. Shane wondered whether it was a birth defect, the result from an accident, the side effects of a disease or illness or perhaps due to leprosy. A sister of the Missionaries of Charity explained.

Mother Teresa and her sisters relied on donations for everything, including their shoes. They received donations of used shoes once in a while for distribution among the needy. When a load of used shoes would come in, Mother Teresa used to dig through the pile of shoes and consistently chose the worst pair for herself regardless of how badly they may have fitted. Her feet deteriorated by wearing substandard shoes. She crippled herself showing love and compassion to those that had nothing.

Mother Teresa loved the needy so much that she wanted them to have the best of the worst rather than the worst.

A worshipper touches the case around Mother Teresa's sandals

A devotee touches the case around Mother Teresa’s sandals.

A coterie of Missionaries of Charity sisters had been escorting her relics around the world. On July 27, 2010, after visiting packed churches from Boston to Chicago, 20 years after Mother Teresa visited Dallas to found a local order of her Missionaries of Charity, a choice selection of her personal effects returned to St. James Catholic Church, Oak Cliff. After the 6 p.m. service, the sisters held the relics up by the altar as worshippers filed past to touch or kiss them.

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Pearls of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Blessed Teresa in the National Shrine, Washington DC

Statue of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

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Anyway

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

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Deeds

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”

“Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.”

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Dreams

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”

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Forgiving

“I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: ‘You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him.’ It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand.”

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Humbleness

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

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Life

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

“A life not lived for others is not a life.”

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

“Live simply so others may simply live.”

“Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.”

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Love

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.”

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

“People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

“Work without love is slavery.”

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”

“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

“Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.”

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

“I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.”

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”

“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”

“God made the world for the delight of human beings– if we could see His goodness everywhere, His concern for us, His awareness of our needs: the phone call we’ve waited for, the ride we are offered, the letter in the mail, just the little things He does for us throughout the day. As we remember and notice His love for us, we just begin to fall in love with Him because He is so busy with us — you just can’t resist Him. I believe there’s no such thing as luck in life, it’s God’s love, it’s His.”

“There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives – the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them.”

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Patience

“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually means less.”

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Poverty

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

“When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.”

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her.  It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. “

“The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. But we are perfectly happy.”

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Prayer

“Prayer in action is love, love in action is service.”

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.”

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Religion

“There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ:
Jesus is my God,
Jesus is my Spouse,
Jesus is my Life,
Jesus is my only Love,
Jesus is my All in All;
Jesus is my Everything.”

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Sharing

“You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me.”

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Smile

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“Peace begins with a smile..”

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

“The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver.”

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Speaking

“Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”

“Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”

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Words

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

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Six Word Saturday – June 23, 2012 : A miracle


Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:

I WAS HUNGRY, YOU FED ME.

The man slowly looked up at the woman. Her coat was new. She looked as if she had never missed a meal in her life. A woman clearly accustomed to the finer things in life.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling. Her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.

“Leave me alone,” he growled.

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.

“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I told you to leave me alone.”

Just then a policeman appeared from nowhere.

“Is there any problem, ma’am?” the policeman asked.

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head.

“That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she pointed. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man yelled. “I don’t want to go in there!”

Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up.

“Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything,” he moaned.

“This is a good deal for you, Jack. Don’t blow it,” the officer said.

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and seated him at a table in a remote corner. It was the eleven in the morning, and most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.

The manager saw the trio and strode across the cafeteria and stood beside their table.

“What’s going on here, officer? Is this man here to create trouble?” the manager asked.

“Sir, this lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” snorted the manager angrily. “Having a person like this here is bad for business.”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin.

“See, lady. I told you didn’t I? Now can you both let me go? I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

“ The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled.

“Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?” she asked.

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And don’t you make enough of money catering food at these weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?” the manager retorted.

“I, Sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh,” the manager gasped.

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.”

She glanced at the police officer stifling a giggle and said, “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and something to eat, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

They watched the manager hurrying away.

“You certainly put him in his place,” the police officer said.

“That was not my intent,” she smiled. “Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”

She sat down at the table across from Jack, her bemused dinner guest. She stared at him intently.

“Jack, do you remember me?” she asked.

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes.

“I think so .. I mean … You do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile.

“Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the cash for my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be alright.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business, that, with the help of God, prospered.”

She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.

“When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

Tears welled in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he asked.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today ma’am, something that I will never forget. And … And thank you for the coffee.”

Matthew 25:34-40

Then the king will say to those on his right,

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say,

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply,

‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

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On Poverty – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Blessed  Teresa  of Calcutta

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

“When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.”

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty
Poverty

Poverty
Poverty

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Some facts about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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“By blood, I am Albanian.
By citizenship, an Indian.
By faith, I am a Catholic nun.
As to my calling, I belong to the world.
As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a household name in India and in many other countries for her good works. But many people don’t know much about her other than that she was “a nun who helped the poor.”

Here are some facts about this most humble servant of God.

Born on August 26, 1910 in Albania. She was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.  She considered 27 August, the day she was baptized, to be her “true birthday”.

When she was a little girl, her family lived in one of the two houses owned by her father.  When she was 8 years old her father died, ending their family’s financial security.

Agnes was interested with missionaries from an early age. When she was 12, she was bent on committing herself to a religious vocation.

At the age of 18, she left home and joined the Sisters of Loretto in Rathfarnham, Ireland on May 23, 1929.

Although she lived to be 87 years old, she never saw her mother or sister again after the day she left for Ireland.

After learning English for an year in Ireland, she got transferred to the convent of Sisters of Loretto in Darjeeling, India.

She took her vows as a nun in 1931. She chose the name Teresa – to honour Saints Therese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila.

Painting of Saint Therese of Lisieux by Leonard Porter

Agnes was allured by Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, as well as the patron saint of florists, AIDS sufferers and others.

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

Teresa of Avila is the patron saint of people in religious orders, lacemakers, Spain and more.

Teresa began teaching history and geography in Calcutta at St. Mary’s, a high school for the daughters of the wealthy. She remained there for 15 years and enjoyed the work, but was distressed by the poverty she saw all around her.

In 1946, Teresa traveled to Darjeeling for a retreat. It was on that journey that she realized what her true calling was:

I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.

It took two years of preparation before she was able to begin doing the work she felt compelled to do. She needed permission from the Sisters of Loretto to leave the order – while retaining her vows – as well as permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to live and work among the poor. She also prepared herself for the hard task by following a course in nursing.

In 1948, Teresa set aside her nun’s habit and adapted her clothing to a simple sari and sandals, as worn by the women she would be living among. To begin her work, she moved in to a small rented hovel in the slums of Calcutta.

Having been used to a life of comparative comfort, Teresa’s first year in the slums was particularly hard. She had no income and had to beg for food and supplies. She was often tempted to return to her earlier life in the convent. But she was a determined soul  and relied on her faith in God to get herself through all adversities.

One of her first projects was to teach the children of the poor. All that she had as a tool was her experience gained by teaching the children of the rich. To begin with she did not have any equipment, teaching aids  or supplies. She taught the children of the poor to read using books, and to write by writing on the dirt with sticks.

In addition to promoting literacy, Teresa taught the children basic hygiene. She visited their families. Inquired about their needs. Helped them with provisions whenever she could.

Soon, word began to spread about Teresa’s good works. She had other volunteers wanting to help.

By 1950, she was able to start the Mission of Charity – a congregation dedicated to caring for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people who had become a burden to the society and shunned by everyone.”

She opened a hospice for the poor, a home for sufferers of leprosy, and a home for orphans and homeless youth.

Mother Teresa was honoured with many awards throughout her life – from the Indian Padma Shri in 1962 to the inaugural Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971 to Albania’s Golden Honour of the Nation in 1994 and, most famously, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

She refused the traditional Nobel honour banquet, instead requested that the $192K funds be given to help the poor of India.

She continued her work with the poor for the rest of her life, leading the Missionaries of Charity until just months before her death on September 5, 1997.

The Catholic Church has begun to move Mother Teresa towards sainthood. She was beatified in 2003.Now her official title is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

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Six Word Saturday – May 19, 2012


Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday: Pearls of Blessed [Mother] Teresa of Calcutta:

Life is a game, play it.

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Six Word Saturday – May 12, 2012


Olivia Hussey as Mother Teresa of Calcutta in a new television series for Italian TV, produced by Lux Vide.

Renowned English actress Olivia Hussey has spoken of her delight at being chosen to play Mother Teresa of Calcutta in a new television series for Italian TV, produced by Lux Vide. It was shown around the time of the beatification of the world’s most famous nun, October 2003.

“I never met Mother Teresa, but I spoke to some of the sisters of her order: the light on their faces has impressed me greatly … For 20 years, I have dreamt of having this role, and I knew that Mother Teresa would not have been displeased,” said Ms Hussey.

Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday: Pearls of Blessed [Mother] Teresa of Calcutta:

Life is a duty, complete it.

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Six Word Saturday – April 28, 2012


Deutsch: Mutter Teresa (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); 1...

Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:

Life is a dream, realize it.

Pearls of Blessed [Mother] Teresa of Calcutta.

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