missionaries-of-charity

“As I read the Gospel, I cannot but smile at those who tell us that we are spoiling the poor in offering them our free service. I think no one has given us more than God has, who has given us everything freely. And it is not so bad to have at least one congregation that spoils the poor, when everybody else spoils the rich.”

–Mother Teresa, Heart of Joy

The other day, a man, a journalist, asked me a strange question. He asked me, “Even you, do you have to go to confession?” I said, “Yes, I go to con­fession every week.” And he said, “Then God must be very demanding if you have to go to confession.”

And I said, “Your own child sometimes does some­thing wrong. What happens when your child comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I’m sorry’? What do you do? You put both of your arms around your child and kiss him. Why? Because that’s your way of telling him that you love him. God does the same thing. He loves you tenderly.” Even when we sin or make a mistake, let’s allow that to help us grow closer to God. Let’s tell Him humbly, “I know I shouldn’t have done this, but even this failure I offer to you.”

If we have sinned or made a mistake, let us go to Him and say, “I’m sorry! I repent.” God is a forgiving Father. His mercy is greater than our sins. He will forgive us.

—  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity
No Greater Love

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

~ Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997) (Age 87) Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta…Source | More | Gallery

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Saint of the Day – 26 May – S Philip Neri Cong. Orat. Priest and Founder, Mystic, Missionary of Charity, also known as:  Amabile Santo, the Second Apostle of Rome, Philip Romolo Neri –  (22 July 1515 at Florence, Italy – 27 May 1595 at the church of San Maria in Vallicella, Italy of natural causes) Canonised:  12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.  Patron of Gravina, Italy, Rome, Italy, laughter, humour, joy, archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, United States Army Special Forces.   When summoned to hear confessions or to see someone who had called, Neri came down instantly with the words “We must leave Christ for Christ”.   Philip was a mystic of the highest order, a man of ecstasies and visions, whose greatest happiness was to be alone with God.   Yet at the call of charity he gave up the delight of prayer and, instead, sought God by helping his neighbour.   His whole life is that of the contemplative in action.

He was the son of Francesco di Neri, a lawyer and his wife Lucrezia da Mosciano, whose family were nobility in the service of the Italian state.   He was carefully brought up and received his early teaching from the friars at San Marco, the famous Dominican monastery in Florence.   He was accustomed in later life to ascribe most of his progress to the teaching of two of them, Zenobio de’ Medici and Servanzio Mini.   At the age of 18, Philip was sent to his uncle, Romolo, a wealthy merchant at San Germano, a Neapolitan town near the base of Monte Cassino, to assist him in his business and with the hope that he might inherit his uncle’s fortune.   He gained Romolo’s confidence and affection but soon after coming to San Germano Philip had a religious conversion:  he no longer cared for things of the world and chose to relocate to Rome in 1533.

After arriving in Rome, Neri became a tutor in the house of a Florentine aristocrat named Galeotto Caccia. After two years he began to pursue his own studies (for a period of three years) under the guidance of the Augustinians.   Following this, he began those labours amongst the sick and poor which, in later life, gained him the title of “Apostle of Rome”.   He also ministered to the prostitutes of the city.   In 1538 he entered into the home mission work for which he became famous; traveling throughout the city, seeking opportunities of entering into conversation with people and of leading them to consider the topics he set before them.   For seventeen years Philip lived as a layman in Rome, probably without thinking of becoming a priest.   Around 1544, he made the acquaintance of Ignatius of Loyola.   Many of Neri’s disciples found their vocations in the infant Society of Jesus.

In 1548, together with his confessor, Persiano Rossa, Neri founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims and Convalescents whose primary object was to minister to the needs of the thousands of poor pilgrims who flocked to Rome, especially in jubilee years and also to relieve the patients discharged from hospitals but who were still too weak for labour.    Members met for prayer at the church of San Salvatore in Campo where the devotion of the Forty Hours of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was first introduced into Rome

In 1551 Neri received all the minor orders and was ordained deacon and finally priest (on 23 May).   He thought of going to India as a missionary but was dissuaded by his friends who saw that there was abundant work to be done in Rome.   Accordingly, he settled down, with some companions, at the Hospital of San Girolamo della Carità, and while there tentatively began, in 1556, the institute with which his name is more especially connected, that of the Oratory.   The scheme at first was no more than a series of evening meetings in a hall (the Oratory), at which there were prayers, hymns, and readings from Scripture, the church fathers and the Martyrology, followed by a lecture, or by discussion of some religious question proposed for consideration.   The musical selections (settings of scenes from sacred history) were called oratorios.   Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers and composed music for the services.   The scheme was developed and the members of the society undertook various kinds of mission work throughout Rome, notably the preaching of sermons in different churches every evening, a completely new idea at that time.    He also spent much of his time hearing confessions, and effected many conversions in this way.   Neri sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

In 1564 the Florentines requested that Neri leave San Girolamo to oversee their newly built church in Rome, San Giovanni dei Fiorentini.   He was at first reluctant but by consent of Pope Pius IV he accepted, while remaining in charge of San Girolamo, where the exercises of the Oratory were kept up.   At this time the new society included among its members Caesar Baronius, the ecclesiastical historian, Francesco Maria Tarugi, afterwards Archbishop of Avignon and Ottavio Paravicini, all three of whom were subsequently cardinals, and also Gallonius (Antonio Gallonio), author of a well-known work on the Sufferings of the Martyrs, Ancina, Bordoni, and other men of ability and distinction.   In 1574, the Florentines built a large oratory or mission-room for the society, next to San Giovanni, in order to save them the fatigue of the daily journey to and from San Girolamo and to provide a more convenient place of assembly and the headquarters were transferred there.  Below -  San Giovanni dei Fiorentini Rome – the home of the First Oratory

As the community grew and its mission work extended, the need for a church entirely its own made itself felt and the offer of the small parish church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, conveniently situated in the middle of Rome, was made and accepted.  The building, however, not large enough for their purpose, was pulled down and a splendid church erected on the site.   It was immediately after taking possession of their new quarters that Neri formally organized, under permission of a papal bull dated 15 July 1575, a community of secular priests, called the Congregation of the Oratory.   The new church was consecrated early in 1577 and the clergy of the new society at once resigned the charge of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini;  Neri himself did not leave San Girolamo until 1583 and then only by virtue of an injunction of the pope that he, as the superior, should reside at the chief house of his congregation.   He was at first elected for a term of three years (as is usual in modern societies) but in 1587 was nominated superior for life.   He was, however, entirely free from personal ambition and had no desire to be superior general over a number of dependent houses, so he desired that all congregations formed on his model outside Rome should be autonomous, governing themselves and without endeavouring for Neri to retain control over any new colonies they might themselves send out—a regulation afterwards formally confirmed by a brief of Gregory XV in 1622.   Below -  Santa Maria in Vallicella after being rebuilt for the Oratory

Philip Neri embodied a number of contradictions, combining popular venerations with intensely individual piety.   He became embedded in the church hierarchy while seeking to reform a corrupt Rome and an uninterested clergy.   He possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit.   He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one and carried this spirit into his whole life:  “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”  This was the secret of Neri’s popularity and of his place in the folklore of the Roman poor.   Many miracles were attributed to him.   When his body was autopsied it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, an event attributed to the expansion of his heart while fervently praying in the catacombs about the year 1545.  ] Benedict XIV, who reorganised the rules for canonisation, decided that Philip’s enlarged heart was caused by an aneurism. Ponnelle and Bordet, in their 1932 biography St. Philip Neri and the Roman Society of His Times (1515-1595), conclude that it was partly natural and partly supernatural.   What is certain is that Philip himself and his penitents associated it with divine love.

“Practical commonplaceness,” says Frederick William Faber in his panegyric of Neri, “was the special mark which distinguishes his form of ascetic piety from the types accredited before his day.   He looked like other men … he was emphatically a modern gentleman, of scrupulous courtesy, sportive gaiety, acquainted with what was going on in the world, taking a real interest in it, giving and getting information, very neatly dressed, with a shrewd common sense always alive about him, in a modern room with modern furniture, plain, it is true but with no marks of poverty about it—In a word, with all the ease, the gracefulness, the polish of a modern gentleman of good birth, considerable accomplishments, and a very various information.”

Accordingly, Neri was ready to meet the needs of his day to an extent and in a manner which even the versatile Jesuits, who much desired to enlist him in their company, did not rival;  and, though an Italian priest and head of a new religious order, his genius was entirely unmonastic and unmedieval, frequent and popular preaching, unconventional prayer and unsystematized, albeit fervent, private devotion.

Neri prayed, “Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”

When summoned to hear confessions or to see someone who had called, Neri came down instantly with the words “We must leave Christ for Christ”. Philip was a mystic of the highest order, a man of ecstasies and visions, whose greatest happiness was to be alone with God. Yet at the call of charity he gave up the delight of prayer and, instead, sought God by helping his neighbour. His whole life is that of the contemplative in action.

Neri died around the end of the day on 25 May 1595, the Feast of Corpus Christi that year, after having spent the day hearing confessions and receiving visitors. ] About midnight he began hemorrhaging and Baronius read the commendatory prayers over him. Baronius asked that he would bless his spiritual sons before dying and though he could no longer speak, he blessed them with the sign of the cross and died.

Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615, and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.   His memorial is celebrated on 26 May. His body is in the Chiesa Nuova (“New Church”) in Rome.

Neri is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.

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August 26th 1910: Mother Teresa born

On this day in 1910, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (now best known as Mother Teresa) was born to an Albanian family in Skopje, Macedonia which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. She became a nun when she was 18 and joined the Sisters of Loreto. In 1946 she claimed that she had a vision of God telling her to leave the convent and help the poor. She obeyed and lived among the poor in India and it was during this time that she went from Sister Teresa to Mother Teresa. In 1950 she established Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic congregation which helps the poor, the ill and the homeless. Members of the order, which still continues to do good works, make four vows, the last of which is to give “Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of the poor”. Her work drew great international attention and in 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize. While being praised by many she was also a figure of controversy partly due to her opposition to contraception and for the large donations from disreputable sources her organisation accepted. Towards the end of her life Mother Teresa began to feel doubts about her religious convictions, and died in Calcutta on 5th September 1997, aged 87.

“I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.”
- Mother Teresa on her message from God

Here is a photo of the four Missionaries of Charity killed in Aden, Yemen, last week, along with 12 other Christian men and women.

Just a few days ago these four women–Sister Anselm from India; Sisters Margherite and Reginette from Rwanda, and Sister Judith from Kenya–were at ministries, caring for the elderly in a nursing home. They did so, like most of the Missionaries of Charity, quietly, humbly and out of the public eye. Now they are, according to Pope Francis, martyrs, and may one day be blesseds. A photo of two of them after their deaths shows them lying on the ground in their blood-spattered blue-and-white habits, still wearing plaid aprons, a symbol of their “ordinary” lives. Their deaths are a reminder that even in our ordinary lives we can be called to give ourselves to Christ entirely. Most of us will never be called to be martyrs in this way, but we can always give ourselves to Christ.

It’s also a reminder of the many heroic men and women all over the world who are willing to remain with the poor and marginalized in order to love them, serve them, and live out the Gospel with them.

Holy Martyrs of Yemen, pray for us!

npr.org
How The Catholic Church Documented Mother Teresa's 2 Miracles
A cancer patient and a coma victim credit her for their recovery. "You have to accept that there are things that science cannot explain," says an atheist physician who's investigated miracle stories.

Hundreds of Catholics have been declared saints in recent decades, but few with the acclaim accorded Mother Teresa, set to be canonized by Pope Francis on Sunday, largely in recognition of her service to the poor in India.

“When I was coming of age, she was the living saint,” says the Most Rev. Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “If you were saying, ‘Who is someone today that would really embody the Christian life?’ you would turn to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.”

Born Agnes Bojaxhiu to an Albanian family in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Mother Teresa became world-famous for her devotion to the destitute and dying. The religious congregation she established in 1950, the Missionaries of Charity, now counts more than 4,500 religious sisters around the world. In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her lifetime of service.

Humanitarian work alone, however, is not sufficient for canonization in the Catholic Church. Normally, a candidate must be associated with at least two miracles. The idea is that a person worthy of sainthood must demonstrably be in heaven, actually interceding with God on behalf of those in need of healing.

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September 4 – today Mother Teresa of Calcutta becomes St Teresa of Calcuta 

Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the tiny woman recognized throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor, was beatified October 19, 2003. Among those present were hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1950 as a diocesan religious community. Today the congregation also includes contemplative sisters and brothers and an order of priests. In 1946, while riding a train to Darjeeling to make a retreat, Sister Teresa heard what she later explained as “a call within a call. The message was clear. I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She also heard a call to give up her life with the Sisters of Loreto and, instead, to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” After receiving permission to leave Loreto, establish a new religious community and undertake her new work, she took a nursing course for several months. She returned to Kolkata, where she lived in the slums and opened a school for poor children.

anonymous asked:

hi Hannah! I've been following your art for years and I really love your work. I'm a Christian too, but sometimes I don't feel okay working on art. I feel worried that I should be doing something more "helpful" with my time. Have you ever felt this way? What gives you the courage to pursue drawing as a career? Thanks.

Hey there! I’m so glad you asked! This is actually something I’m pretty passionate about!

 

As a Christian, I’ve had similar thoughts plenty of times. Drawing is something that *I* love doing. Does that mean it’s selfish and self-fulfilling to pursue it? Should I be doing something more selfless, something more God honoring? If I really love the Lord does that mean I should abandon everything, go work in an orphanage or become a missionary in a foreign country etc, etc etc??? Those kinds of thoughts can be really stressful if you dwell on them and make you feel like “I’m not doing enough/ I’m not doing the right thing”.

 

Col. 3:23

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

1 Cor. 10:31

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot.

(more under cut)

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Monday, 5 October: the Feast of Saint Faustina. From the Diary of Saint Faustina (#1032): “During Holy Mass, I saw the Lord Jesus nailed upon the cross amidst great torments. A soft moan issued from His Heart. After some time, He said, I thirst. I thirst for the salvation of souls. Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners.

Saint Faustina, Apostle of Divine Mercy, pray for us!

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Dear Lord, the Great Healer, I kneel before You, since every perfect gift must come from you. I pray, give skill to my hands, clear vision to my mind, kindness and meekness to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift up a part of the burden of my suffering fellow men, and a true realization of the privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness that with the simple faith of a child, I may rely on You. Amen.

(Sing) Be with us Mary along the way

Guide every step we take

Lead us to Jesus, your loving Son

Come with us Mary, come.

-Missionaries of Charity.

The poor are thirsty for water but also for peace, truth and justice. The poor are naked and need clothing, but also need human dignity and compassion for those who sin. The poor have no shelter and need shelters made of bricks, but also of a joyful heart, compassionate and full of love. They are sick and need medical attention, but also a helping hand and welcoming smile.

The outcasts, those who are rejected, the unloved, prisoners, alcoholics, the dying, those who are alone and abandoned, the marginalized, the untouchables and lepers…, those in doubt and confusion, those who have not been touched by the light of Christ, those starving for the word and peace of God, sad and afflicted souls…, those who are a burden to society, who have lost all hope and faith in life, who have forgotten how to smile and no longer know what it means to receive a little human warmth, a gesture of love and friendship – all of them, they turn to us to receive a little bit of comfort. If we turn our backs on them, we turn our backs on Christ.

—  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity
Letter of 10/04/1974 to her co-workers