By Sr. Dr. Teresa Joseph, FMA
Contemplatives Round the Clock: Missionaries of Charity
16th Jul, 2018
By Sr. Dr. Teresa Joseph, FMA

This blog is by courtesy of

By Sr. Dr. Teresa Joseph, FMA –

“Come to visit us,” said two Missionaries of Charity to me with a broad smile. “I will come if I can get a chance to present to your community the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis:Gaudete et Exsultate (The Call to Holiness in today’s world), was my quick reply. “Sure! you can come,” continued the Sisters. A few days later, the animator of the community Sr. Gracia approached me and said: “You can come on Wednesday or on Sunday.” Wednesday was fine for me. Friends, this much is just familiar conversation. Here begins something stupendous, a loving dialogue with the Contemplative Sisters of the Missionaries of charity.

‘Mother Will Tell You When to Join’

In 1976 the Contemplative Order began. Sr. Gracia brings with her years of active life in communities of Middle East, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and India. From 2010, she is in the Contemplative Order of the Missionaries of Charity. I was eager to know more about them and I asked them.

Sr. Gracia, why did you opt for Contemplative Life after years of active mission?

From childhood, I wanted to be a contemplative, but did not know how to go about it. In 1989, I asked Mother and she replied: “My child, Mother will tell you when to go. Then Mother went to heaven.”

How did it all just happen?

In the 2009 Chapter, I asked Sr. Prema. She wrote a letter to me assuring that I can go. I received the letter when I was in Yemen.

After eight years of contemplative life, what you would like to share with young girls who want to join religious life?

“If you have a call, then enjoy it with the Lord.”

Sr. Jocelyn: what would you like to tell us about contemplative life?

The great longing for God and for silence came quickly the answer. When I spoke with one of the Sisters, she explained to me about all the branches and as Sister was talking, my heart got attached to contemplative life and I embraced it. My heart was longing for Jesus. Now I found what I was yearning and thirsting for. I enjoy inner peace and there is no attraction for anything else.

Opted to be Contemplatives as Teens

Srs. Jocelyn, Teresita, Lucia and Kiron are from Ranchi and they joined the Contemplative Order right from their youth. They got to know about it as the Sisters explained the different branches of the Missionaries of Charity. The Superior General is the same for the active and contemplative Sisters. The contemplatives dedicate more time to prayer and the active ones blend work and prayer harmoniously.

The Call to Holiness

The presentation and the sharing on the pearls from the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on the Call to Holiness were very enriching moments and the Sisters took keen interest in the document. Sr. Maria John was preparing for the renewal of her vows and she was asked what thought from Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation: The Call to Holiness impressed her? What struck me the most was Mother Mary doesn’t need words. It is just enough to whisper Hail Mary.

Journeying to Holiness in the footsteps of St. Mother Teresa

What was the secret of St. Mother Teresa’s extraordinary work? It was her ability to see the countenance of Christ in the face of each person, especially the poorest. Spurred on by the profound conviction that even the most disgraced person has his/her dignity, Teresa placed service in the first place. The mercy and compassion that she nurtured for the poor shines out in the way she defines them: “personification of Christ.” Her ‘You did it to Me’ lingers on even today. How often she must have whispered in her heart: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”

That small, thin, humble and bent Teresa knew to rob the hearts of almost all with her simplicity and dedication. Through her attention to the poorest and to the elderly, she has become the bearer of the Love of God. Her glance from Calcutta was turned to the entire world.

A Loving Style of Response

Mother was able to develop within her Congregation, a style of response to the need of the hour. From Calcutta to New York, she opened houses for the dying. The victims of Aids, of drugs and of prostitution were embraced by the rays of her love.

St. John Paul II expressed splendidly: “Mother Teresa has marked the history of our century with courage. She has served all human persons promoting dignity and respect, has made those who felt defeated of life aware of the tenderness of God.”

Here is Mother Teresa’s professional secret: “Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself. Prayer begets faith, faith begets love, and love begets service on behalf of the poor.”

Speaking of Mother Teresa, Sr. Nirmala Joshi said: Mother was a woman of love, a mother to everyone, one with us in everything; she was always available to the Sisters and to the people. Young people love challenges, our life has that challenge. Wholehearted service to the poorest of the poor attracts the young. The service of the poor attracts everybody.

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