This Sunday, which marks the 13th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death, the U.S. Postal Service will dedicate its new stamp honoring the legendary nun. “Faith, Hope & Love” recently caught up with one of Mother Teresa’s friends, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, to field a few questions about the occasion. Donna-Marie is an award-winning author, speaker, blogger, TV host and mother of five from Litchfield County, Conn. She will be with the Missionaries of Charity Sisters in Rome on Sunday participating in a Mass and special events for Mother Teresa’s feast day.
You were blessed with a rich friendship with Mother Teresa, chronicled in your book “Mother Teresa And Me: 10 Years Of Friendship.” What was the overarching lesson you gleaned from her?
I learned from this modern-day saint that God doesn’t expect us to work miracles by ourselves; He wants us to trust Him, to rely on Him, and to pray deeply for Him to work through us to reach others, to be His hands and heart to others. Mother Teresa brought countless souls to heaven – one at a time. In other words, she met each person and every circumstance as he, she, or it was placed in her life and responded to it all with great love.
She taught us that the poor are not just those starving for a piece of bread, but they are also those who are starving for love and care. We need to be the ones who love with Christ’s love to all we meet. We are all called to holiness, not just Mother Teresa. God is counting on us to serve those He places in our midst and He will work the miracles in human hearts!
What wisdom do you think Mother Teresa would share with Catholic singles?
I think Mother Teresa would ask singles to love one another, to thirst for Jesus and discover the exquisite beauty in God’s tender love for them. She would tell singles to remain chaste and to pray for the strength and courage to do so. She once said to youth, “You must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes gods out of power, riches, and pleasure make you to forget that you have been created for greater things: to love and be loved.”
Catholic singles must practice the art of discernment, which isn’t easy. How did Mother Teresa approach this?
Mother Teresa approached all things with a firm foundation of prayer. Prayer fueled her in her work. The Eucharist was vital in her life. She participated in daily Mass and went before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to pray earnestly before making any decision. She clung to the Blessed Mother through the Rosary and conversations, and she beckoned us all to do the same, to remain faithful and prayerful.
What do you think of the new Mother Teresa stamp?
I love it! I am excited that my spiritual mentor and friend’s face will be circulating all over the country and maybe even the world. I hope many will use the stamp, which will help to evangelize all of what Mother Teresa stood for and hopefully will encourage others to begin to pray and love like her. I can only imagine what a world we would have if we all began to pray and love more deeply!
Mother Teresa died 13 years ago Sunday. Are we doing an adequate job honoring her legacy and cultivating the virtues she embodied?
No, I don’t think we are doing an adequate job honoring Mother Teresa’s legacy. The Missionaries of Charity sisters, brothers, priests, co-workers, and lay associates are doing so, but there’s a lot more that can be done by others. The Mother Teresa stamp can be a reminder to us all to carry on Mother’s work of responding in love to all we meet, of striving to see Jesus in one another and serving Him with tender care.