Mother Teresa Beyond Women Priests

Priestly cassock as part of Mother Teresa's religious habit for MCs.

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – Setting aside theological controversies Mother Teresa of Calcutta went beyond the demands of women who clamour for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. She chose white cotton cassock with full buttoned collar which priests normally wear in India as part of her religious habit along with the blue bordered white cotton sari as wrap around as well as head cover.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, used clothing as statement for swadeshi movement (self-rule) when he abandoned western style of dressing and adopted the dress style of  an Indian villager. So too Mother Teresa used her religious habit as statement to remind herself and her Missionaries of Charity (MC) Sisters that they are “Jesus ministering to the people.”
Besides making a statement with the choice of her religious habit, Mother Teresa also backed women as priests in an interview on the occasion of her 80th birthday granted to the editor of the Calcutta Catholic weekly The Herald. Salesian Fr. C. M. Paul interviewed her at the Mother House on Thursday, 16 August 1990.
Stating her position on women as priests Mother Teresa cited the example of Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus saying: “No one was a better priest than Mary. And yet she remained only the handmaid of the Lord. See, no one could say, not even you as a priest, this is my body, as she could, because the body of Jesus was in her. Beautiful no!”
Commenting on accusations leveled against her for not sufficiently backing the feminists movement in the Church, Mother Teresa explained: “You say the so called feminists are angry with me as I do not promote their cause… It’s kind of jealousy. Our actions, let’s say, are pointing a finger at them. As religious we must be able to prove that I can do what you cannot do. What you do I cannot do. And as a woman, what I can do is to think, love and pray.”
Revealing the Missionaries of Charity Sisters love and devotion to priests Mother Teresa said: “Our Sisters and associates have adopted over 27,000 priests. Each one [sister] is given a priest’s name [not for correspondence]. Sr Nirmala of our contemplative wing coordinates the prayer for priests.”
“Make sure somebody adopts me, I too am a priest, said the Pope [John Paul II] when I asked his blessings for the prayer for priests project in 1988,” recalled Mother Teresa citing the reaction of Pope John Paul II to her Prayer for Priests Project.
(Ref: The Herald, Calcutta, 24-30 August 1990, p.7)

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2 Comments

Filed under Mother Teresa, MTIFF 2010, priests

2 responses to “Mother Teresa Beyond Women Priests

  1. Mark Nel

    “No one was a better priest than Mary. And yet she remained only the handmaid of the Lord. See, no one could say, not even you as a priest, this is my body, as she could, because the body of Jesus was in her. Beautiful no!”

    I don’t read into this statement by Mother Teresa that she backed women priests. You are manipulating her words to suit your view.

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