Mother Teresa and society’s throwaways

Finding Jesus in “the distressing disguise of the poor”

On the CWR homepage, you’ll find Michael J. Miller’s interview with Msgr. Leo Maasburg, who worked side-by-side with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and her sisters for many years, and whose book of recollections of that time, Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait, was released in English by Ignatius Press earlier this fall.

Msgr. Maasburg talks to Miller about his travels with Mother Teresa as she founded homes for the poor and needy in some of the world’s most impoverished and war-torn regions. He also discusses her work in “the New World,” and the distinct character of her mission in the industrialized West:

She recognized that besides material poverty there was a much deeper poverty that is much more difficult to remedy, namely loneliness, abandonment, the apparent uselessness of the lives of many older persons. Mother Teresa called these people “throwaways of society,” and soon she and her sisters tried to devote their time, their care, their attention and love to them in the New World, too, and above all in the industrialized countries. 

In the New World, in New York for example, Mother Teresa founded in 1985 the first house for terminally ill AIDS patients. Even she could not heal their bodies, but she wanted to touch the minds and souls of these individuals with her tactful and completely non-judgmental love. In each of them, too, Jesus was present in his “distressing disguise of the poor.” 

The entire interview with Msgr. Maasburg can be read here.


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About Catherine Harmon 573 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.