One woman's personal recollections about growing up with Mother Teresa

September 4th, 2016 will be one of the greatest and memorable days on the Church calendar as Mother Teresa will be canonized as a Saint.  

Mother Teresa has played a great part in my life personally.  I feel so blessed with a deep sense of gratitude toward her, for today I am what I am, because of her.

As I recall, Mother Teresa took three of us in as infants at Holy Family Hospital.  While Mother Teresa is well known for her work among the dying, she also worked with infants and started the Nirmala Shishu Bhawan for children.

At the age of three and a half we were sent to Loreto Convent School in Entally to get an education - the very same location where Mother was a teacher during her Loreto years. Mother was a Loreto nun for over 20 years before getting the call to serve the poorest of the poor and founding her own order, the Missionaries of Charity (MC).  Her vision of faith is grounded in the Gospel (Matt 25, 31-46) and her faith manifested by works (James 2, 14-26). She sent us orphans to Loreto for our education as she knew that placing us in Loreto would not only provide us an excellent education but also that we would be loved and cared for by the Loreto nuns, teachers and staff. I am still in touch with some of the original MC Sisters and they remind me of Mother's personal care and protectiveness toward us.  

Mother always kept in touch with us during our years at Loreto. She attended our First Holy Communion ceremony and came to visit us several times in spite of her busy schedule. I remember that Mother Teresa was ever so gentle with us, even when I fell short in my grades or acted up. 

She always reminded me that I could do anything as long as I gave it my all and with God's help.  

Whenever we went for some of our holidays to Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, the Sisters gave us a lovely time and always reminded us that Mother was behind all the effort. I was amazed to see the simple life that Mother lived. Despite her busy life running the MC organization and taking care of countless details, she did not lose sight of the mission. Every day she went out to visit the sick and suffering; yet when she returned to the Convent, she looked so serene. I remember going a couple of times with the Sisters, and this has had an impact in my life. I realize it now especially, as I currently work for hospice as a Certified Nursing Aide. I'm sure that having witnessed all that Mother and her Sisters did was the reason why I took up this calling.

I came to really appreciate the great faith, selfless sacrifice and good works of both the MC and Loreto sisters. I continued to stay in touch with them even after I finished school, went out into the world, and eventually became an Executive Secretary for a company in Calcutta.  Later on, I got married in the Chapel at Loreto in the presence of many nuns from both Loreto and MCs who were my family and friends. My husband and I were fortunate to have received Mother's blessings (who gently reminded my husband that she was his Mother-in-law!!) To this day I continue to stay in touch with the MC sisters who were part of my early years and the Loreto Sisters who were also responsible for shaping my faith and future.  

A poignant moment in my life occurred was when I was getting ready to come to the United States.  This was a time where I was called to step out into the unknown in faith.  But as I was making plans to come to the U.S., I was told I needed a birth certificate.  All these years, I never had one or needed one. What was I going to do?  

Mother put her arms around me and blessed me, and said that everything will go well.  And it did.  

Mother gave me an affidavit that the U.S. accepted.  

Had it not been for Mother Teresa, I probably would not be as blessed as I am today. I cannot thank Mother enough for saving my life and the Loreto Sisters for their continued support, love and influence.