Mother Teresa as Prophet Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 09:12
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, who knew Mother Teresa for 30 years, responds in the First Things blog to the recent controversy over the publication of her letters revealing her decades long dark night.

"It would be wise for the informed reader to take this opportunity to read what the great mystics have said about darkness, particularly of their own experience. Not all pass through this terrible trial, but certainly it is there for many saints who are outstanding mystics. Mother Teresa was such a person.

What many current articles do not mention is that toward the end of her life the darkness lifted. Fr. Brian records the sisters’ observation when Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta shortly before her death: “After her return from Rome [and New York] . . . Mother had been extremely happy, joyful, optimistic, and talkative. Her face was always radiant, full of fun. The Lord must have revealed to her the impending end of her life.”

Our readers may find it interesting to know that I personally observed this joyfulness the day before Mother returned to Calcutta. I was asked by her sisters to offer Mass for her. She was so weak that she could not stand, but attended Mass lying on a cot. My confrere Fr. Andrew Apostoli and I were utterly astonished after Mass when she was “bubbly.” She laughed and told us with great joy the number of sisters and convents they had throughout the world. Mother never spoke about this before, and she was not doing so in any boastful way. Rather, she was rejoicing “with triumphant exultation” at the great blessings God had been able to grant through the Missionaries of Charity. Many memorable events took place during the thirty years I knew Mother Teresa, but this by far was the most remarkable.

In the midst of all the ill-advised and stupid analyses done of Mother Teresa by her critics, who know little or nothing about the spiritual life, my own conviction, after watching her carefully for three decades, was that Mother Teresa was not only a saint but also a prophetess, pointing the Church in a new and right direction in the difficult and puzzling age that dawns on us.

It seems to me that she was like Catherine of Siena, who prepared the Church for the Renaissance, and Teresa of Avila, who pulled the Church out of the doldrums as the turbulence of the Reformation period broke over it. Should we be surprised that a prophetess receives such bad treatment? By no means. There are many examples in Sacred Scripture of exactly the same thing. In fact, Mother Teresa, who sought to emulate Jesus in so many ways, now does it by encountering vicious calumny and detraction."