[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

Mother Teresa: Holiness, Humor, Humility

5 September 1997


t.gif (986 bytes)he Rev. Michael Mannion, director of campus ministry at The Catholic University of America, knew Mother Teresa for 28 years, and worked with her closely.

"The world has lost a great voice for the powerless and the homeless and the hungry, " said Mannion. "Ironically enough, she served the worst of the poor, she was among the poorest of the poor, and the richest of the rich tripped over themselves to meet her."

He remembers the three "h's" about Mother Teresa: Holiness, Humor and Humility.

"She was a unique blend of recognizing the presence of God and Christ in every person. She worshipped God through the way she treated people. It was an expression of who she was. Her holiness not a heavy, dour, pessimistic attitude about life. It was a celebration of the goodness of people. "

"She lit up no matter how bad she was feeling when people came into a room. And if you wanted to meet her in a crowd of 500,000 hold up a baby, she'd go right for the baby. And there would be an eye contact and a love and a chemistry connection that was very, very beautiful to see."

"She also had a great sense of humor. One time someone gave her a beautiful plaque. I was standing next to her and she whispered, 'Now I can open my plaque shop!' It was her way of saying that 'people recognize me for what I've done but everyone is gifted by God to worship God through loving each other."

Mother Teresa also had a way of blending her humility with strength, says Mannion.

"Around 1969 or 1970 I remember driving her around Rome to visit several embassies try to get visas for her sisters. We'd go into the embassies and the duty officer might pound his fist on the desk and say, no, Mother Teresa, your sisters can't come to our country. It's not good, it's not safe, or whatever. "

"She would smile and say the rosary quietly and we'd walk out of there with four of five visas. There was something about her conviction, her gentleness and her incredible persuasiveness of presence."

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Revised: 27 October 1997

All contents copyright 1997.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.