Saint for the dispossessed

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 September, 1997, 12:00am

Much has been written about Princess Diana after her tragic death, yet little was printed in the press about one of the most significant saintly Christian workers of this century, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, following her death from cardiac failure in India.

I never met Mother Teresa. I have only read and heard about her and even that is not voluminous. Yet what I read or heard of her speaks loud and clear: she was one of those selfless, indefatigable Christian philanthropists who devoted her entire life to helping people.

What distinguishes her from most philanthropists though is her deep Christian faith and her great love which prompted her loving actions.

That love, which I believe could only have been inspired by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit, brought her to work for those poor, destitute, otherwise uncared-for and helpless orphans and elderly people living in the slums of Calcutta. Few Christian workers in this century could match Mother Teresa in her altruistic love and compassion for the materially impoverished.

I watched ATV's programme on September 13, A Candle to Mother Teresa, and agreed with one of the commentators that whether the Roman Catholic Church would canonise her and accord her sainthood mattered little. What is really important and is a fait accompli, is that what she already did is sufficient testimony that she is a saint and that her death, while a great loss, will be a shining example to all those in whose heart there is a fire of hope that cannot be extinguished, faith and love that translates itself into fruitful, charitable deeds.