Legacy of Mother Teresa
In 1950, Mother Teresa created the 'Missionaries of Charity', a Catholic sisterhood dedicated to serving in the slums of Calcutta. Mother Teresa saw this ministry as a way to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” Her leadership and tireless charitable work positively impacted many lives for which she was recognized in 1979, when she won the Nobel Peace Prize. She died in 1997, but Mother Teresa's legacy and influence upon the world was only just beginning.
After her death, letters written by Mother Teresa revealed a 50 year long struggle with sensing God's presence: "I have no faith - I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart - and make me suffer untold agony." While some might find these admissions of doubt alarming and claim them to to be indicative of hypocrisy, I take great comfort in them. It's reassuring to me that someone as pious as Mother Teresa had doubts, questions, and walked through a 'dark night of the soul'.
In 2016 Mother Teresa was canonized, 'Saint Teresa of Calcutta' by Pope Francis. Rather than seeing her as super-human, a quality the label of 'saint' tends to bestow upon a person, her crisis of faith allowed me to view her as a fellow pilgrim who'd travelled down a familiar spiritual path, a road of many peaks and valleys. At times my spiritual path is dark, crowded with doubts and seemingly void of God's presence, while at other times it's light, joy-filled, and I'm inspired with faith, trust and confidence.
It is clear to me that Mother Teresa's legacy extends beyond the charitable works and Christian leadership she showed during her lifetime, as it continues to impact many people today.