Mother Teresa's Dark Night

The beloved missionary longed for the strong 'sense of union' with Jesus she had before starting her ministry.

This interview, reprinted with permission of National Catholic Register, originally appeared on Beliefnet in 2003.

Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Missionary of Charity priest who is advancing Mother Teresa's sainthood cause, was surprised. Like much of the world, he thought the story of Mother Teresa was summed up by her simple faith. But the work he did--work that came to fruition in Oct.19, 2003 when Pope John Paul II beatified Mother--revealed much more. He told Rome correspondent Father Raymond J. de Souza about it.

What did you learn about Mother Teresa in the course of preparing her cause?

Even though she was a public person, she managed to keep her interior life private. She hardly ever said anything about her personal life. She wasn't interested in a biography, as she did not see that as important. Her focus was always that everything she did was God's work. She would always say that to anyone who spoke of her success: "It's God's work."

People saw her holiness - it was evident - but now we realize that her simplicity hid a real profundity. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of the more profound aspects of her soul. I think we will see that she is one of the greater saints, but time will tell as we begin to understand more of her.

What is the principal message of Mother Teresa's life?

A reminder of how much God loves human beings, expressed in those key words from the cross: I thirst. Thirst gives an idea of how intense is the desire of God for souls.

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Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi presented her with an award one time, and she said that Mother Teresa reminds us of the simple importance of love.

When leaders would ask Mother why she wanted to come to their country or city, she would say that she wanted to make the love of God present. Love becomes concrete in compassion. As the sisters began to expand in the West and Mother would travel, she realized that the greater poverty is to be unloved, unwanted, rejected and lonely - all of which is very common in the West. Nevertheless, Jesus loves you - he thirsts for you.

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