What was Mother Teresa's views on conversion?
25th February 2015
Statement of Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, Postulator of the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa
Since Mother Teresa’s aims in serving the poorest of the poor in India and elsewhere have been questioned recently, I would like to make the following clarifications.
Mother Teresa offered tender, loving care to those most in need, the poorest of the poor, all over the world independently of their race, color, nationality, cast or creed. In each human being, she saw a child of God, created for greater things: to love and to be loved. Respecting this innate value and dignity of each person, she endeavored to bring this love where it was lacking, offering her humble service to whoever was in need, without considering their religious affiliation.
Mother Teresa believed that conversion is a work of God and that faith is a gift. She respected every person, including atheists or agnostics, and respected the faith they had or even lacked. Here is a short testimony of someone who was closely associated with Mother Teresa for 23 years: “I am a Hindu and I never saw the slightest evidence in all my 23 years of knowing Mother Teresa in the Missionaries of Charity, of converting. …
When I asked her whether she converted, she answered, ‘Yes, I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, or a better Muslim, or a better Protestant, or a better Catholic, or a better Parsee, or a better Sikh, or a better Buddhist. And after you have found God, it is for you to do what God wants you to do.’ ” She wanted people to come closer to God (however they understood Him) and believed that in this way they would also come closer to each other, love one another, and ultimately create a world that is better for everyone to live in.
The Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity state: “We shall not impose our Catholic Faith on anyone, but have profound respect for all religions, for it is never lawful for anyone to force others to embrace the Catholic Faith against their conscience.” This reflects the intention of Mother Teresa herself, and the Missionaries of Charity follow in her footsteps.