Monday, December 21, 2009

Missionaries of Charity

I am reading a biography on the life of Mother Teresa. I came across these two stories that I found really funny. As most of you know, the Missionaries of Charity, the order started by Mother Teresa, accepted a life of extreme poverty. She would say, "our rigorous poverty is our safeguard." When faced with the challenge of adhering to this vow, Mother Teresa said,
"We do not want to do what other religious orders have done throughout history, and begin by serving the poor only to end up unconsciously serving the rich. In order to understand and help those who have nothing, we must live like them. . . . The only difference is that these people are poor by birth, and we are poor by choice."
The sisters found ways to use things twice, and never took items that could be used to help the poor they were serving. On many occasions the sisters would use the old sacks of wheat to sow into habits (distinctive set of clothing worn by religious orders). The lettering could not always be washed out and beneath the pleats across one sister's behind were the words "Not for resale." Another sister needed shoes desperately, but the only ones available were a pair of red stiletto heals. Her hobbling appearance in such unsuitable footwear had the sisters laughing hysterically.