Cover image for A simple path
A simple path
Teresa, Mother, Saint, 1910-1997.
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Large Print , [1995]

Physical Description:
200 pages ; 25 cm
Corporate Subject:
Added Author:
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BX4406.5.Z8 A3 1995B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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Known around the globe for her indefatigable work on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the dying, Mother Teresa has devoted her life to giving hope to the hopeless in more than one hundred and twenty countries. She inspires us all to find a way to translate our spiritual beliefs into action in the world. How has one woman accomplished so much? And what are the guiding principles that have enabled this humble nun to so profoundly affect the lives of millions? Now, in her own words, Mother Teresa shares the thoughts and experiences that have led her to do her extraordinary charitable work. A candid look at her everyday life at the very simplicity and self-sacrifice that give her the strength to move mountains A Simple Path gives voice to the remarkable spirit who has dedicated her life to the poorest among us. It is a unique spiritual guide for Catholics and non-Catholics alike: flail of wisdom and hope from the one person who has given us the greatest model of love in action in our time. Born in 1910 in Yugoslavia, Mother Teresa went to Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham, Dublin, in 1928 and from there to India where she began her novitiate, She has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, and has founded hundreds of homes throughout the world.

Author Notes

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxiu (mother Teresa) was born on August 26, 1910 in Albania. As a child she was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries, so by age 12 she was convinced that she would commit herself to a religious life. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English, the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school in India. She took her first religious vows as a nun on May 24, 1931. It was at that time she chose the name Teresa after Therese de Listeux - the patron saint of missionaries. It was in 1946 when Mother Teresa received what she describes as "the call within the call" while traveling to Loreto convent in Darjeling from Calcutta for a retreat. She felt she was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. She started her missionary work in 1948 and replaced her traditionary Loreto habit with a white sari with blue border. She was a Catholic nun of India. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. She ministered to the poor, sick and orphaned for over 45 years while expanding the Missionaries of Charity.

By the 1970's she was well known as a humanitarian for the poor due partly to a book and documentary Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honor the Bharat Ratna in 1980. Throughout her years as a missioonary Mother Teresa felt the need to create a home for orphaned children so she opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children's Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth. She also opened the first Home for the Dying in Calcutta. With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying. Her Missionaries of Charity expanded to 610 missions with over 4000 sisters in 123 countries by 1997.

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 form complications from two previous heart attacks and a bout with malaria. She was granted a state funeral by the Indian government in gratitude for her service to the poor of all religions in India.



THE FRUIT OF SILENCE IS PRAYER   We all must take the time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities like London and New York, where everything moves so fast. This is why I decided to open our first home for contemplative sisters (whose vocation is to pray most of the day) in New York instead of the Himalayas: I felt silence and contemplation were needed more in the cities of the world.   I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence--we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul--as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul--and it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others. When you have a clean heart it means you are open and honest with God, you are not hiding anything from Him, and this lets Him take what He wants from you.   If you are searching for God and do not know where to begin, learn to pray and take the trouble to pray every day. You can pray anytime, anywhere. You do not have to be in a chapel or a church. You can pray at work--work doesn't have to stop prayer and prayer doesn't have to stop work. You can also consult a priest or minister for guidance, or try speaking directly to God. Just speak. Tell Him everything, talk to Him. He is our father, He is father to us all whatever religion we are. We are all created by God, we are his children. We have to put our trust in Him and love Him, believe in Him, work for Him. And if we pray, we will get all the answers we need.   Without prayer I could not work for even half an hour. I get my strength from God through prayer, which is something all the sisters understand, including Sister Dolores, who has been with our Order for thirty-five years and now runs Nirmal Hriday, the home for the dying and destitute in Calcutta:   "Every morning the sisters wake up knowing what they have to go through again, which is sometimes very difficult for them. Prayer gives them strength--it sustains, helps, and gives us all the joy to carry out what we need to do. We begin the day with prayer and with Mass and we end the day with an hour of Adoration before Jesus. To continuously do and to continuously give needs God's graces--without them it would be impossible for us to live."   Also, Sister Charmaine Jose, who is in charge of the children's home, Shishu Bhavan, in Calcutta says:   "I don't know how we could face this heat and this busy work without prayer, but the work is entirely for Him so we are happy to do it."   Sister Kateri, a Superior Sister in our home in the Bronx, New York, explains this through her own experience:   "The most important thing that a human being can do is pray, because we've been made for God and our hearts are restless until we rest with Him. And it's in prayer that we come into contact with God. We are made for Heaven and we're not going to get to Heaven if we don't pray in some way. It doesn't necessarily have to be formal prayer.   "I used to share this with the men at the prison I visited. I'd give them the example: If you had to go on a trip, what would you need? And the men would say, 'You'd need a car and you'd need gasoline.' (One man said, 'Music'!) We used to have a good time because we usually decided that the gasoline was prayer, the car was our life, the journey was to heaven, you had to have a map, you had to know where you were going, and so on. My point really is that the gasoline of our life is prayer and without that we won't reach our destination, and we won't reach the fulfillment of our being."   HOW TO PRAY: A SIMPLE CONTACT WITH GOD   Start and end the day with prayer. Come to God as a child. If you find it hard to pray you can say, "Come Holy Spirit, guide me, protect me, clear out my mind so that I can pray." Or, if you pray to Mary, you can say, "Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now, help me to pray."   When you pray, give thanks to God for all His gifts because everything is His and a gift from Him. Your soul is a gift of God. If you are Christian, you can say the Lord's Prayer; if Catholic, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Rosary, the Creed--all common prayers. If you or your family have your own devotions, then pray according to them.   If you trust in the Lord and the power of prayer you will overcome any feelings of doubt and fear and loneliness that people commonly feel.   If there is something that is worrying you, then you can go to Confession (if you are a Catholic) and become perfectly clean, because Jesus forgives everything through the priest. It is a beautiful gift of God that we may go to Confession full of sin and come out perfectly pure. However, whether you go to Confession or not, or whether you are Catholic or from another religion, you should at least know how to say "Sorry" to God.   Every night before you go to bed you must make an examination of conscience (because you don't know if you will be alive in the morning!). Whatever is troubling you, or whatever wrong you may have done, you need to repair it. For example, if you have stolen something, then try to give it back. If you have hurt somebody, try to make up to that person; do it directly. If you cannot make up like that, at least then make up with God by saying, "I'm very sorry." This is important because just as we have acts of love, we also must have acts of contrition. You could say, "Lord, I'm sorry for having offended you and I promise you I will try not to offend you again," something like this. It feels good to be free of burdens, to have a clean heart. Remember that God is merciful, He is the merciful father to us all. We are His children and He will forgive and forget if we remember to do so.   Examine your heart first, though, to see if there is any lack of forgiveness of others still inside, because how can we ask God for forgiveness if we cannot forgive others? Remember, if you truly repent, if you really mean it with a clean heart, you will be absolved in God's eyes. He will forgive you if you truly confess. So pray to be able to forgive those who have hurt you or whom you don't like, and forgive as you have been forgiven.   You can also pray for the work of others and help them. For example, in our community there are "second self" helpers who offer their prayers for a sister who needs the strength to carry on her active work. And we also have the contemplative sisters and brothers, who pray for us all the time.   There are so many stories about the power of prayer and how God always answers us. A priest, Father Bert White, visited us in Calcutta because he was interested in our work. He came at just the right time:   "I was on my way to see the work of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity and decided to attend Mass at the Mother House. Arriving at the front door, I was greeted by a sister who said to me, 'Thank God you're here, Father, come on in.' I said, 'How do you know I'm a priest?' because I was not wearing my clerical clothes, and she answered, 'The priest who usually says Mass couldn't come so we prayed to God to send us another.' "   Excerpted from A Simple Path by Mother Teresa of Calcutta All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.