The Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Mary Nirmala Joshi, said this week that, inspired by the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “the Christian testimony needed today in India consists in being authentic disciples of Christ,” amidst the wave of anti-Christian violence which has so far taken the lives of 26 people in the region of Orissa.
In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano on the anniversary of the death of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Sister Nirmala said that several days ago she sent a message to Orissa and to all of India saying, “It is not necessary to use religion to divide us, and violence in the name of religion is an abuse of religion itself. As Mother Teresa used to say, ‘Religion is a work of love. It has not been created to destroy peace and unity’.”
After encouraging everyone in India to abandon violence and put on “the armor of love,” Sr. Nirmala offered prayers for those who live died from the violence by Hindu extremists against Christians. Sister Nirmala also expressed her hope that, with the intercession of Mother Teresa, “We can become instruments of God and of his peace, builders of the civilization of love.”
The leader of the Missionaries of Charity also mentioned the celebration of the anniversary of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and explained that the festivities are “an expression of our profound gratitude to God for the gift of her life of holiness and her worldwide mission of love for the poorest of the poor.”
She went on to point out that in Calcutta, at the tomb of Mother Teresa, Mass preceded by the Rosary was celebrated for nine days straight. “Non-Catholics and people of all religions also come to do her homage, praying, bringing flowers and candles, and imploring the intercession of Mother,” she said.
In mentioning what Blessed Teresa means for the people of India, Sister Nirmala underscored that “she is our mother for all the inhabitants of India, of every age, religion, caste, creed, color, rich and poor, healthy and sick. The numerous persons touched by her unconditional love have learned to love those who belong to different religions, castes and economic conditions. Mother has taught with her word and example that any thing that we do to the least of these brothers we do to God himself,” she said.
Sister Nirmala later underscored that “the inhabitants of India are very proud of Mother (Teresa). In her they have found somebody who truly cares for them. Her life is a source of inspiration for all. In her name all hearts and doors are opened. In her they see an authentic India,” and Indians see “in her the incarnation of God himself.”