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 and not the worst.

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

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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 the 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.

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 of 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 and not 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 escorted 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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