Today, September 5, is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s (“Mother Teresa”) feast day according to the Catholic liturgical calendar. It is so, because Sept. 5 marks the anniversary of her passing to new life in 1997. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a personal hero of mine and she was a tremendous advocate for the unborn and the dignity of every human person.
Working in the pro-life movement, I feel a draw or even a small connection to Blessed Teresa and had the very special opportunity to meet her in Washington, DC, a few months before she passed away. Teeny-tiny in stature, she had clear, deep kind eyes, weathered skin that revealed a little bit of her physical labors in her mission, and a heart that was an interesting combination of tough and gentle and loving at the same time. Years after meeting her, I visited a few of her homes in India, and in doing so came understood a little more of the poverty and darkness (and light–especially of her sisters) in Calcutta.
One of my all-time favorite pro-life speeches is Mother Teresa’s remarks upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. I quote it in part below. Enjoy! Happy Feast Day, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, thank you for your life and its profound light and witness to me.
“I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why – why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child takes back to the street and gets involved in something. We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace, but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child – I will not forget you – I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible – but even if she could forget – I will not forget you. And today the greatest means – the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here – our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what the greatest destroyer of peace is today. Because if a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you kill me – there is nothing between. And this I appeal in India, I appeal everywhere: Let us bring the child back, and this year being the child’s year: What have we done for the child? At the beginning of the year I told, I spoke everywhere and I said: Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted. And today is the end of the year, have we really made the children wanted? I will give you something terrifying. We are fighting abortion by adoption, we have saved thousands of lives, we have sent words to all the clinics, to the hospitals, police stations – please don’t destroy the child, we will take the child. So every hour of the day and night it is always somebody, we have quite a number of unwedded mothers – tell them come, we will take care of you, we will take the child from you, and we will get a home for the child. And we have a tremendous demand from families who have no children, that is the blessing of God for us.”
Find a transcript of the entire speech here.