I consider Saint Teresa of Calcutta, also known as Mother Teresa, one of the greatest Saints who was alive during my lifetime and a true inspiration to my entire life and my vocation as a Roman Catholic wife and mother. I often draw on Saint Teresa’s example in my daily life and find myself realizing that true holiness doesn't always come in elaborate doings or services. One of my favorite quotes by Saint Teresa of Calcutta is: “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
In "Mother Teresa, An Authorized Biography" by Kathryn Spink, I found one small part of the book to quite poignantly show how Saint Teresa truly followed Christ’s way in the most “ordinary” actions.
Typically, when we think of Saint Teresa’s path to holiness, we often think of her work with people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, her work with orphans, her participation in the pro-life movement, etc. However, this biography by Ms. Spink details an instance in which the now Saint is found doing something which many of us do on a weekly basis. It is something that I do sometimes more than just weekly and is something that I even sometimes do begrudgingly. After reading this biography, I now look at this deed with a much different perspective.
What was this instance that was a poignant example of Saint Teresa's true holiness?
It was a moment in which one of the sisters at the convent avoided washing the communal toilet and instead hid so that she could avoid the chore. The book states that this sister then saw Saint Teresa walking past the toilet and saw that it was dirty. The sister then watched as Saint Teresa rolled up her sleeves and cleaned the toilet herself. This may not seem like a major moment to many and it was not this one instance of Saint Teresa cleaning a toilet that transcend her to Sainthood. However, it was in this ordinary moment that Saint Teresa both "walked the walk" and (I'm guessing) inspired the sister that watched (I assume guiltily) from her hiding space.
It seems silly, but ever since reading that passage, when I clean the toilets in my house, I say a silent prayer to Saint Teresa to always keep me humble, focused on Jesus and finding ways to serve others with love. This brings me to another favorite quote from Saint Teresa: “Wash the plate not because it's dirty, nor because you're told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.”
What are some ways in which you draw inspiration in your path to holiness? Please share on Facebook!
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!
Spink, Kathryn. Mother Teresa: an authorized biography. New York, HarperOne, 2011