Skopje, North Macedonia, May 7, 2019 / 09:59 am
In the first-ever papal visit to North Macedonia Tuesday, Pope Francis lauded the lasting legacy of Mother Teresa, a saint unafraid to offer her life for love.
“This land was able to give to the world and to the Church in Mother Teresa just that kind of concrete sign of how one small person, anointed by the Lord, could permeate everything, once the fragrance of the Beatitudes was spread over the weary feet of our humanity,” Pope Francis said in Skopje, Mother Teresa’s hometown, May 7.
“How many people were put at ease by the tenderness of her glance, comforted by her caress, sustained by her hope and nourished by the courage of her faith, which could make even the most forgotten in our midst realize that they are not forgotten by God,” the pope said in his meeting with Macedonian priests and religious in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“History is written by people like this, people unafraid to offer their lives for love: whenever you did this to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me,” Pope Francis said.
Earlier Tuesday, Pope Francis visited Skopje’s Mother Teresa Memorial House, which is built on the former site of Sacred Heart Church where St. Teresa of Kolkata was baptized. Mother Teresa’s childhood home and Sacred Heart Church were both destroyed in an earthquake in 1963.
“All too often we let ourselves think that things might be different if we were strong, powerful and influential,” Francis reflected, adding that the “secret of our strength” has another source.
He quoted St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who wrote “Certainly, the most decisive turning points in world history are substantially co-determined by souls whom no history book ever mentions. And we will only find out about those souls to whom we owe the decisive turning points in our personal lives on the day when all that is hidden is revealed.”
According to 2002 estimates, Catholics and other non-Orthodox Christians in North Macedonia are just 0.4% of a population of over 2 million. The majority religion is Macedonian Orthodox at 65%. Islam is the next largest religion at over 33% of the population.