I was in the home of a Chicago couple who support Priests for Life, and they had invited a number of other couples to the house so that I could speak about the projects and initiatives of our ministry. As our gathering progressed, someone called with the news that Mother Teresa of Calcutta had died. It was September 5, 1997.
Just three years earlier, in June of 1994, I had the privilege of a several-day visit with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. She took me around the city to the various homes run by her Sisters, the Missionaries of Charity. I spoke to them about the pro-life movement in the United States, and about the biblical basis for fighting abortion. I said Mass for the sisters, and even found myself preaching a homily about holiness, with Mother Teresa in the congregation!
Mother Teresa had just given her speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC a few months earlier. “Many of the American people really loved your speech,” I told her. “And what about the rest?” she asked. And she gave me a typewritten copy of the speech and asked that Priests for Life distribute it far and wide. We still do so to this day.
After my visit, Mother Teresa wrote me a letter in which she expressed her hope that “many priests and deacons will join the Priests for Life.” We had discussed pro-life strategy in detail, and the role that Priests for Life could play in the Church. (I was still in my first year as full-time Director of Priests for Life.) We spoke about Mother Teresa’s frequent assertion that “the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Let us honor Mother Teresa on this her Feast Day and every day, above all by following her example!