"Stay very close to Our Lady. If you do this, you can do great things for God and the good of people."
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta
As it was for Mother Teresa, so it can be for the rest of us. By standing close to Our Lady we can find the grace and courage to overcome our own personal trials and crosses. Summon the same powerful presence and aid of Our Lady by following the example of Mother Teresa. From dawn to dusk, decade to decade, Mother Teresas life had been spent, in every sense of the word, in the shadow of Our Lady. Our Lady helps us, as Mother Teresa found in her vision, to become contemplatives at the foot of the crossto discover Gods presence and love, even in the midst of our trials and dark nights. Nothing was impossible for Mother Teresa while she clung to Our Lady, and as Mother Teresa tells us, "nothing is impossible for all who call Mary mother."
"Sitting with Mother Teresa, watching her tend to the sick and the dying, feeling the aura of holiness around her person, seeing her bent in prayer, lost in Godhow often I asked myself if I was not seeing something of Our Lady, experiencing a glimpse of the Virgin of Nazareth"
- Author and co-founder of Mother Teresas priests community, Joseph Langford, MC
Joseph Langford is co-founder with Mother Teresa of her community of priests, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, based in Tijuana, Mexico. He finished his philosophical and theological studies summa cum laude at the Angelicum in Rome where he came to know Mother Teresa in the years before beginning the priests' community.
I remember Mother Teresas passing as if it was yesterday. The crowds of Calcuttas grieving poor, pressing ahead, with tributes of stray flowers clutched to their hearts, hoping to get a glimpse of their saint, as she lie in state in St. Thomas Church. The media everywhere; snapping photos, lining up interviews, and hefting video cameras from place to place in the drenching heat. A whos-Who of the U.N. lining up to lay garlands before the bier at her state funeral. And finally, closed away from the crowds and cameras, the family she founded huddled around her grave, as we lowered her into the vault, and cast handfuls of sand from a plastic bucket onto her casket as she disappeared from view for the last time.
In the days surrounding her funeral, those who had known Mother Teresa closely mingled with those who had known her only from afar; sharing their common sorrow, but also their stories. Stories of meeting Mother Teresa for the first time; things she said and did; how she had touched them and marked their lives. Among the reminiscences were the kudos of gratitude you would expect to hear, there was one that took me aback-not out of disagreement, but out of wonder that these simple people, many of whom did not share her faith, could have been so perceptive. Time and again they remarked that Mother Teresa had reminded them of Mary, the mother of Jesus; that they had felt a presence, some special anointing of tenderness and goodness, that brought to mind the Virgin of Nazareth. They didnt understand how or why, but they knew they felt it, and they were still touched by it.
For those who had known Mother Teresa well, this would only confirm what they knew, what they had long observed in her and admired-a deep and even intimate relationship with Mary, solid not sentimental, lived in the realm of spirit but without fanfare, in the midst of the simplest daily duties, as she bathed the dying and fed the hungry. Things that surely the mother of Christ would have done right along side her.
The heights of the spirit, scaled from the bottom of a teacup, from the wound of a leper, from a plate of rice. This was the legacy Mother Teresa received from Mary, and was formed in, living day after day in this hidden school of Gods goodness going on between the two of them in her heart. With this little volume, In the Shadow of Our Lady, I wanted to share some of that hidden intimacy with a larger public - and not just as a way of understanding the courage and commitment she showed at standing at todays Calvaries, as did Mary, but as an invitation and a primer for the reader to share in that gift Jesus left us in saying, "Disciple, Behold your Mother."
-Joseph Langford, MC, co-founder of Mother Teresas priestly order