Mother Teresa Lamented Lack of Local Lay Support

Mother Teresa with Fr C.M. Paul at Mother House

KOLKATA — It was the morning of Bengal bandh (total strike) – August 16, Thursday 1990. Sharing the worm-wooden bench on the corridor connecting her Mother House office on 54A Lower Circulalr Road and chapel, as editor of The Herald, oldest Catholic weekly in India (estd. 1839) I had the privilege of interviewing Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Energetic and exuberant, Mother Teresa looked twenty years younger as she chuckled and joked through the interview enjoying the peace of the deserted road minus the clanging sound of the electric-tram bells and blaring bus and taxi horns. The relative peace was interspersed with the howls of “howzz that” of youthful cricketers who took over the deserted road. The interview lasted about an hour covering 15 topics including, priests, women priests, feminists, Marxists, media, mission, conversion and laity.
In the course of the interview on 16 August 1990 to mark her 80th birth day Mother Teresa lamented lack of Indian Christians volunteering for work among the poorest of the poor…
Her eyes lit up narrating a touching incident. She said: “Few days ago a man came with a little boy and said – “My son loves you so much that for three months he did not use his pocket money. I also love Mother and I felt shy in front of my son. So, I also did not smoke for three months.”
“And [so] the little boy gave his money, all ten paisas [ coins]…”
“But we don’t see that coming from our families…. If you come here to the Mother House in the evening, you will see about half the church [chapel] full of foreign volunteers. Go to Kalighat, Prem Dan, Sishu Bhavan more than sixty people are here [there] – but not one Indian… We have to be taught. Where are people? I miss them, you know.”
(Ref: The Herald, Calcutta, 24-30 August 1990, p.7)

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