Letter from the Superior General
of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters
to Co-workers, Sick and Suffering Co-workers,
Lay MC and Volunteers
Sr. M. Prema, MC
My dear Co-Workers, Active, Sick & Suffering, Lay Missionaries of Charity, I Thirst Movement members, Volunteers,
I wish you and your families and loved ones a fervent Advent and a Blessed Christmas Season filled with peace and joy. May you taste deeply “the peace of God, which surpasses all our understanding and which keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4;7)
As we bow before the mystery of God coming to us as a Baby we contemplate God’s love for the world and His unconditional care for His children till the end. We thank God and rejoice that we are the “little ones” in His Kingdom because this qualifies us to come very close to Jesus, the vulnerable Baby in the manger and to our crucified Jesus on Calvary.
The world offers us solutions which are instant and painless. Jesus offers us the narrow way, which orders our lives by putting God first, and seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Mother did not offer us solutions. She walked the narrow way of self-denial and total self-gift in all circumstances, loving until it hurts. She always gave God the first place in her life and heart.
Mother brought us to Jesus.
- When we were drawn to seek comfort and ease, our Mother took us to the poor Jesus in the crib, to Jesus who had nowhere to lay His head, to Jesus on the cross deprived of all things.
- When we wanted justice and claimed our rights, our Mother showed us Jesus who suffered and died to forgive our sins so that we also forgive others.
- When we were crushed by sickness and pain, our Mother made us aware of how close Jesus had come to us, so to be able to kiss us.
- When we felt lonely and useless, our Mother convinced us that Jesus loves us and needs us, and that Mother loves us and needs us.
- When our hearts were restless, confused and weighed down by failure and sin, our Mother led us gently to Jesus in the Eucharist who gives rest to the tired and heavily burdened.
- When we were found negligent, careless and unkind in our families, workplaces, neighborhood and schools, our Mother brought us to see Jesus who suffers in the least of His brothers and sisters.
At Bethlehem the Holy Family was refused food, shelter and listening heart. Our Lady and our Mother will help us to recognize Jesus in the lonely, the downcast and the rejected, to welcome them with joy and to make room for them in our hearts. Let us make that strong resolution that none in my family and among those I meet daily is made to feel unloved and unwanted by me.
Some of you may know Sr Anand M.C. who was appointed by Mother to take over from Jacqueline de Decker the work of linking the sisters with the Sick & Suffering Co-Workers since 1996, has now handed over the work to Sr Rajini M.C.. Please pray for Sr. Anand M.C. who happily celebrated her 96th birthday this year.
In Kolkata, pilgrims and tourists keep flocking to pray at Mother’s tomb, carrying all kinds of intentions that they know they can entrust to Mother. Although you may never had the chance to come to Kolkata, we place all your prayers and intentions on Mother’s tomb.
May you, your families and loved ones come close together this Christmas around Jesus in the crib and draw from Him the love, joy and peace to share with all those you meet.
Wishing you God’s tender love during this Christmas Season and the New Year 2018.
I pray for you. Please, pray for me.
God bless you
Sr. M. Prema M. C.
My dear Co-Workers, Active, Sick & Suffering, Lay Missionaries of Charity, I Thirst Movement members, Volunteers ,
Happy Easter to you and your families and loved ones. May the peace and joy of the Risen Lord absorb every darkness weighing on our hearts and minds.
Recently a young volunteer at Motherhouse asked me, “Does God will that children be born with disability? Does God will that innocent people should suffer?”. Our young people are disturbed. When they come in contact with our poor who suffer from sickness, poverty, deformity and rejection, they experience turmoil, anger, sadness and helplessness. They question, “Why?”. The world suggests through advertisements that pleasure, good health, fitness, wealth and success are the sources of that happiness for which we all long. Suffering is considered an evil to be avoided and to be gotten rid of at any cost even if it means causing greater harm to oneself or others.
The volunteers observe the joy and dedication with which the sisters, brothers and fathers give themselves in the service of the poor day after day. Their questions arise from an earnest search for the deepest meaning of life and their longing to know that God exists and that they are known and loved by Him.
Those who are gifted with the light of faith believe:
- that God is almighty and He has the power to stop evil
- that God is all-knowing and no evil is hidden from Him
- that God is love and in the mysterious designs of His Providence, He can draw a greater good from evil.
Let us pray for all who are seeking,
- that their hearts be opened to receive the gift of faith, which will free them from the preoccupation with self
- that they may find God who accepts them and promises them a true, indestructible love
- that they may enter into a personal relationship with Jesus to know and to be known, to love and to be loved, to receive His forgiveness and the grace to forgive themselves and others.
“He is the one who always accepts you, when not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes.” (Mother Teresa)
Our Mother appreciated Jesus’ call to belong to Him alone and to be precious to Him. She allowed Jesus to love her by accepting everything, including suffering, from His hand, with a big smile, because it is Jesus who gives it, therefore it is good. Mother eagerly welcomed hardship and deprivation as a privilege coming from union with Jesus who kissed her. Mother’s reverence and tenderness in the chapel and in her dealing with the poor witnessed to her conviction that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and in the poor. Mother was so free that she could depend totally on God’s providence for all her needs. She joyfully gave herself in wholehearted service to the poor without seeking any recognition.
By her life and work Mother answered the question, “Does God will that innocent people should suffer?”. God is Love and He wants each person to live and to know how precious he/she is to Him. He is moved by every tear and He wants to turn it into joy and a greater benefit for the person in this life and in eternity when we accept the redemption worked out by Jesus on the Cross. The Cross remains a stumbling block and a folly to the world, but for those who belong to Jesus, the Cross is the proof of God’s greatest love, our salvation and the promise of eternal happiness.
Last year one of our sisters was bravely accepting the pain caused by cancer. The nurse asked her, “Do you believe that suffering is meritorious?”. She answered, “Suffering is not meritorious but the love with which we suffer is meritorious.” I pray that our Mother may help us to grow in intimate union with Jesus, He will cast out of our hearts and minds all fear of suffering and death and that our lives, like Mother’s life, will witness to God who is Love, and who works everything out for the good.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil SDB was abducted on 4 March 2016 by the terrorists in Yemen who killed four of our sisters. He was released on 12 September 2017 in Oman after 557 days in captivity. On 26 February 2018 Father celebrated Holy Mass in our Motherhouse chapel, Kolkata, for a large crowd of the MC family and friends. Fr. Tom’s account of the abduction and captivity was a testimony of serene acceptance of God’s will in the face of uncertainty and threat to life. Lovingly entrusting his fate to God, he lived one day at a time, spending his time in prayer, forgiving his captors.
I pray that God may grant you, your families and loved ones the grace to rejoice always in His love and goodness even in times of trial and suffering.
God bless you
Sr. M. Prema M. C.