01 November 2011
Recently, I had the chance to read my first book as part of the reviewer program for The Catholic Company. It was titled Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship.
When I was in high school, I remember Mother Teresa visiting New Orleans. I cannot remember the reason for her visit but I will never forget one thing she chose to do during her time here. She wanted to address the youth of our city. Free tickets were given to all the Catholic high school students and we dutifully filled the college arena. It was the same arena where we saw the latest, popular singing groups and rock stars of the time. Now here we were to see this diminutive lady in her cotton sari, a far cry from the glitz and glamor of 80's pop stars. I can't remember anything in particular she said but I can vividly remember her tiny frame which seemed almost to shrink before us against the enormity of the venue. She was quiet, calm and spoke in her familiar thickly accented English. I also clearly recall the hushed awe that fell across our normally rambunctious crowd as she walked out to address us. We all knew what an honor it was to be in her presence.
Donna-Marie Cooper Boyle was very fortunate to have met Mother Teresa and further blessed by ten years of personal letters and other encounters with the lady we now call Blessed. We have the opportunity to see Mother Teresa through the eyes of someone who had a relationship with her. I liked that Donna-Marie put photographs of the actual letters she received at the start of each chapter. It was lovely to see the old typewriter print as well as Mother Teresa's signature at the bottom.
Through the course of the book, you follow the friendship of Donna-Marie and Mother Teresa while learning about what was going on in the author's life at the time as well as gaining a closer look at the spirituality of Mother Teresa. Most of us know something about this world famous missionary but we can all benefit from a closer look. Donna-Marie makes the message of Mother Teresa quite clear and shows how each of us can put her lessons into work in our own lives. We are not all called to minister to the poor and dying in the slums of Calcutta but we are called to minister to those around us. Mother Teresa herself said, "There is Calcutta all over the world for those who have eyes to see."
I enjoyed learning about what and how Mother Teresa taught her nuns. It is wonderful to know that the powerful love she showed will continue after her death through the Missionaries of Charity all around the world. Lessons in simplicity, the power of love and the value of taking time to silence ourselves are all lessons we can use right away to live a better life and begin to build God's kingdom on earth. In writing this book, Donna-Marie lets you into her life for a closer look at Mother Teresa who in turns gives you a closer look at Jesus. You will see those around you in a new light and will be armed with tools for loving Jesus Himself in those around you. Mother Teresa said, "Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting with a smile what Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God."
I highly recommend Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I also recommend The Catholic Company as a great resource for Catholic books and gift items.