Kolkata, Oct 2 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari on Sunday said St. Teresa responded to critics by continuing with her work of mercy and never used “pithy aphorisms” or “admonitions.”
“She may have had her critics, but never did she respond with pithy aphorisms or admonitions – her response was to keep on with her works of mercy, helping one person, then another, then another. And if she thought much about her critics, perhaps it was when she prayed for mercy for them,” Ansari said here in his address at the post-canonisation celebrations of Mother Teresa.
Describing the Nobel laureate as “an embodiment of compassion”, he said her “mission and message have touched not only the poorest of the poor here, but those well beyond India.”
“Today, her words are a message of comfort for countless many across the globe, across all social strata. It inspires us, as that of Mahatma Gandhi, another great Indian whose birth anniversary we celebrate today (on Sunday). It has been said that both ‘shared a curious combination of religious conservatism and radical empiricism’,” Ansari noted.
Mother Teresa was officially declared Saint Teresa by Pope Francis at a ceremony at Vatican City on September 4.
Ansari said: “World leaders have recognised her as an inspiration. Yet she saw herself as one among the needy, one among the poor, dying and destitute. She identified herself with them. She demonstrated that a person could live a faith-filled life even when in agony and doubt.”
He observed that St. Teresa addressed the “complex questions about the meaning of life by reducing it to the simple practice of alleviating the pain of others”.
“St. Teresa believed that giving something of our self is what confers real joy and the person who is allowed to give is the one who receives the most precious gift,” he added.
Ansari said much before the formal canonisation, the Mother was already a revered figure to the people of India.
“Her work, though touching every social ill, was not only, or even primarily social work. She dedicated her life to the cause of humanity. No matter what religion a person belongs to, or even if they do not believe at all, St. Teresa’s message is to serve with love,” he said.
The Vice President said that the Missionaries of Charity continues with its mission of caring for the poor, the sick and the uncared, rendering its service to humanity, reaching out to the needy, regardless of their religion or social status.
“This is indeed, a most fitting tribute to St. Teresa and her compassionate legacy,” he added.