Mother Teresa first visited Mount St. Mary's on October 2, 1975,
where she addressed the Mount seminarians.
Mother Teresa with Seminary Rector, Harry Flynn
The following is a transcription of the speech Mother Teresa gave at the seminary:
I am very happy to be here because I know that after I go back this will become like a powerhouse of prayer for us, that we may not spoil God’s work, the work that has been as a gift of God, that has been entrusted to the Missionaries of Charity to be a witness of love and compassion, of Christ in the world.
I have two very beautiful experiences of work of the sisters amongst the people that your great vocation as priests can so give.
The sister found an old man in a most terrible condition and so they went in. They do lots of that kind of work with the shut-ins. They washed his clothes, cleaned his room, gave him a bath. And he never said a word. After two days he spoke to them and said: “You have brought God in my life. Bring Father also.” And the sisters brought the priest and he made his confession after sixty years. Next day he died. The greatness of the priest in bringing God! He had come in his life. But he needed that forgiveness and that mercy of God to come through the hands of the priest and make the connection.
Two years ago we were asked to go to Yemen. (That’s in the Middle East). A completely Muslim country, no sign of Christianity. After all these years no priest has ever been there to offer Masses. And then the condition I made them: I was ready to give the sisters on condition that they allow a priest to come with us. Without Jesus we don’t go. And the most wonderful thing was, the moment the priest arrived there, there was a tabernacle amongst them, and there was Mass and they received communion. And all these years, because there was no priest in that land, Jesus had not been present as the Bread of Life among the people. Now the sisters are there and they call them carriers of God’s love. They don’t call them Missionaries of God’s love, which is a very beautiful expression of what the real missionary, and especially the Missionary of Charity should be. Our sisters, as you know, and brothers, care for the people that have no on, are wanted by no one, who are hopeless, that have forgotten what is human love and the human touch. And we have these homes for them all over the country of India and a string of them in Africa. There the sisters are working in that hot land and they don’t have a home as they have in other places. But they receive the shut-ins and there is a great, great, great poverty. That’s why I came to you who are going to be priests: Find out the poor, imitating love to the poor. They are not just poor for the plate of rice. But the poverty in Europe and in America it’s much deeper, much greater hurt, much greater pain, and very difficult, very difficult to take away. And so you who are going soon to be His totally, without any reserve, to love Christ with undivided love in chastity, through freedom of poverty, through total surrender to obedience, and with whole-hearted service to give only Jesus to the people. They are not hungry for us. They do not need social workers. We are not social workers; we are to share in the redemption. You as priests, the very heart of Christ. You have the responsibility to be his work, His Life, His way to the Father. Pray for us that we don’t spoil the work of God. And my sisters and I, and our poor people will pray for you that be priests according to the heart of Jesus, meek and humble. Our lives, to be fruitful, must be completely one, as Jesus said: the vine and the branch. The joining of the branch with the vine is beautiful . . . I don’t know if you have every examined the joining. We have a novitiate in Rome and we have a very big vine there in the compound and I wanted to give the sisters and instruction and said well, the best instruction I can give you is: go out and you examine the joining of the branch to the vine. And also examine the fruit. And they examined and they found that the branch was so tight, was such a tight joining between the vine and the branch as if nothing could separate them. And there was no fruit on the vine. All the fruit was on the branch, to prove the humility of Jesus – how He wants to use us to be His branch in which He can produce His Father’s love. Pray for us and we will pray for you.
In our society we try to mold our lives with the Eucharist. We start the day with Mass and Holy Communion. In all our communities we have one hour of adoration when we expose the Blessed Sacrament and we have one full hour of adoration, because we all feel that if our faith is not depended enough to see Christ in the appearance of bread, it will be impossible to see Him in the appearance of the broken bodies of our poor, because the whole congregation is built on what Jesus had said: “I was hungry and you have me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in. You did it to me.” So that’s why we are not social workers. We are trying to be contemplatives in the heart of the world. So pray for us that we keep faithful to this gift of God, to be His work, His Life, His way, and His love in the world.
"Mother Theresa of Calcutta [SIC]." Mount St. Mary's Briefing & Mount Alumnus (Emmitsburg), November 1975.