By Dr. Don Lush GEORGE
Memorie.al / We were together in many places and for a long time, close to thirty years, in Skopje, Letnica, Pristina, Prizren, Rome, Oslo, Zagreb, Budapest, Bucharest, Calcutta…! She told us a story of her own, spoke about her calling, about her family, about the Albanian people. We felt so united, so happy, in her company, that it was hard for us to leave, to take a little break even during the night hours. One evening, we stayed together until late. Afterwards, I wrote down my impressions of the day. She came to my room and said: “You still do not sleep, you are still working”?, “Sit down, do you want to talk a little more?” – I replied. “No, enough for tonight, tomorrow…”.
I got up intentionally the next day, at four o’clock, and went to the hat. I found him sitting there, engrossed in prayer and meditation. Yes, she lives for others, but she finds the strength, the source in God to be so good, so present, so loving, so giving and sacrificing, so “angelic” that I often wondered: is it that ordinary or extraordinary “person”?
Once, he was interviewed by two Russian journalists. The questions they asked were political, perhaps provocative. She looked at them but said nothing. After a moment of silence, one of them said to Mother Teresa: “Mother, it seems to me that I am in front of my mother, as if I am talking to her. I think your belief is great, that your Lord is good… But if we cannot write these things, you can understand this!
Mother Teresa replied: “Do not worry. I will not read what you write about me, I do not even know Russian…! The most important thing is what happens in our hearts. May you always be bearers of love and peace… ”!
When I accompanied her to Oslo for the Nobel Prize, she had a big bag with her, quite simple and poor, and she would say to me from time to time: and toll, you can save me better.
For five days in Oslo, wherever she went, she was surrounded by journalists, photographers, television cameras, and radio and television commentators, by a large crowd. She gave many interviews. I asked, “Is all this confusion heavy on you?”
“I made a contract with Jesus, for every picture they take of me, a soul escapes from purgatory”, she returned to me with great readiness and smiling. Then he continued: “If only they would give me all this money for the poor…”! And he concluded: “Perhaps both are necessary for the glory of God.”
I once asked her directly: How alive is she, everything would be as it is, but after her death? Mother Teresa: “If my Congregation is the work of God, then after it dies it will develop and prosper for the good of mankind and the Church. But if one day my sisters disobey God and do not obey His will, then I will pray to the good God to destroy my Order as soon as possible… ”!
We were invited by a Croatian family in Oslo. The whole family sat happily around Mother Teresa and then, suddenly, Franco, their youngest son, ran outside. We thought he was scared, or…! After a while, he turned and strangled Mother Teresa took her by the hand and hugged her.
He had some small money, “his savings”, which he extended to Mother Teresa, saying: for the children of the poor!
She commented on the rare gesture: “This is a higher price than the Nobel Prize, which comes from an innocent heart that has been raising money for weeks to give to the poor.” While we were in Oslo, she paid a brief visit to the King of Norway, Otav V, on December 10, 1979, at 9:30 am. She was received with all honors. After the greeting and a short conversation, Mother Teresa asked the King: “Your Majesty, will you be present today at the Nobel Prize presentation ceremony?”
King Otavo replied: “I would gladly come, but I am always in the center of people’s attention, so I do not want this to happen today. Today is your day. “You are the personality, so I do not want to spoil them.”
“No, you’re Majesty, no. Neither you nor I are important in the center, but God and our poor, so if you wanted to come, you would not spoil me or anyone. ”
The king agreed after her proposal and explanation and, to the surprise of everyone, especially the organizers, he was actually present at the ceremony.
Mother Teresa also surprised the Nobel Committee when she refused the official and solemn dinner they had organized in her honor, saying:
“I cannot accept such a dinner, as long as our people suffer and starve… we want to be poor, as they..” The money that would have been spent on dinner was given to Mother Teresa for the poor.
Then, we escorted him to Oslo airport. Before parting with us, she said: “Now I am going to Rome to stay a few days with my sisters, then I will meet with the Pope. I have decided to withdraw from public life and also from the head of the Congregation. I will return to the city of the wretched”!
She did, but the Pope, John Paul II, prayed in his name and in the name of the whole Church: “Mother, you are the living testimony of Christ and of the Gospel. Therefore, you must go wherever you are called to evangelize and testify of God’s love for all… ”.
A few months later, she told me: “The Holy Father told me that I should continue to work, visit our homes, and carry the testimony of God around the world. Therefore, I will do what he asks of me, that is, I will listen to the will of God.
Before leaving for Rome, I had a conversation with the chairman of the Nobel Committee, Dr. John Sannes, who told me: “We really do not know who the honorees are, we, or Mother Teresa, who has received the Nobel Prize. We would like to cordially thank Mother Teresa, who received the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’, so now the value of this Prize has increased tremendously…! I think it can be of great help to us, giving us any suggestions, which is our custom and tradition.
It would be better and simpler if she received this Award once again (he said this with a smile, maybe even a little joke, kill me) “.
Mother Teresa was in Skopje. She wanted to open a house, but encountered many obstacles, as the authorities used a house near the Bishop’s residence as a specialized warehouse for “Makedonija filmi”. According to an agreement between the two parties, at least part of this house was to be vacated for Mother Teresa’s sisters and then handed over to the Bishop.
She said with great confidence and conviction: “No problem, do not worry. “Tomorrow I will throw the medal of Our Lady of Miracles and everything will end well; we will have the house soon”.
Then she recounted this episode: “We were in London and we needed a house, a special house. The sisters told me that, for many reasons, it would be more convenient to buy that particular house. But, there was a “difficult” man for us, who did not want to sell him…!
I said to the sisters: Believe me, tomorrow I will go and throw the medal of Our Lady’s miracle and everything will be easier. And, the next morning, I did just that. In the evening the man came and said to me: “I want to sell the house and I want you to be the ones to buy it…”. The price was exactly as we were willing to pay…! You see, then, this is the work of Our Lady “, she concluded.
She did the same in Skopje and got the same results, she was given the part of the house that was used for storing movies…! In 1986, Mother Teresa was in Zagreb. The Holy Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Franjo Kuhoric and about 50 priests, in front of a crowd that filled the Cathedral and the square in front of it.
After Mass, there was an endless procession of people, from the Cathedral to the Archbishop’s residence, who had surrounded Mother Teresa, wanted to see her, to touch her, to be as close to her as possible…!
A woman knelt before her and wanted to kiss her feet, crying: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of our Lord! Let me kiss these blessed feet, which walk the streets of the world, bringing the love of God everywhere!
We were all touched by this cordial and simple gesture, even Mother Teresa, who commented: “Today people feel such a great need for God”!
Over dinner, at the Archbishop’s Palace, she recounted various episodes from her visit to Cuba and excerpts from a conversation she had with the leader, Fidel Castro.
“After a cordial conversation, he stood up and said, ‘Mother Teresa, thank you for your service to the poor and needy.’ I answered briefly, “I do it for Jesus…”, and then I added, “I will pray for you and your family, that you may have the love of God and your people.”
And, I told her to pray with me…!
Castro replied: “My prayer for you and your sisters will be my devotion to the poor and needy.”
In our last meeting and heartfelt conversation, she said to me, “When you have drunk a drop of water, remember me, pray for me, and I will always remember you in my prayers before our Lord, for you are my priest.” Memorie.al