“Christ gave us all gifts, all occasions, so that we also be able to be holy”, Fr. Raphael Archbishop Minassian
9 September, 2016
The canonization of Mother Teresa is a great feast for the sisters of the Congregation, founded by her. Throughout the world, Missionaries of Charity are celebrating this great historical event in their monastic homes. Finally, their prayers gave their blessed fruits: Pope Francis proclaimed their mother as Saint, expressing the appreciation of the Universal Church not only to Mother Teresa’s work but to her sisters’ work as well.
On September 4, all sisters of Mother Teresa have followed the long-awaited canonization ceremony on TV, then thanksgiving Holy Mass was celebrated in all monastic homes. In Spitak House of Missionaries of Charity, serving in Armenia, The Holly Mass was celebrated and the feast event took place on 5 September, which is also Mother Teresa’s feast day-the date of her death. On sisters’ request, the Holly Mass, was celebrated by Raphael Archbishop Minassian, together with Fr. Eghia Kilaghpyan, the abbot in charge of Mkhitaryan Congregation, who was in Armenia in those days, and also with Fr. Narek Tadevosyan and Fr. Joseph Galstyan. Fr. Anton Totonjyan, Sisters of Immaculate Conception, collaborators of Armenian Caritas, benefactors from Italy and, of course, sisters of Mother Teresa together with the children under their custody and living in house of Spitak, were also present at the Holy Mass.
The Holy Mass was celebrated with Armenian rite, the Gospel reading was in English. His Exc. Raphael Archbishop Minassian gave his homily in Armenian, English and Italian languages:
“Dear brothers and sisters,
St. Teresa was the first in the beginning of the 21th century who was proclaimed a saint immediately. There are two points in her life which I remembered. The first one is the desire of this Saint, as she wanted to become the light to all those who are in difficulties and deprived from light.
And she was saying, if one day I become Saint, it is likely that I frequently be absent from the Heaven, as I always need to run to give light to those who are deprived from that light.
This was one of the points of her mission. And the second one, which Pope Francis has mentioned, is that the new saint, despite her short stature, could capture the whole world with her great soul. Imagine how the representatives of class of the cardinals, gathered from different parts of the world, took part in the canonization Mass of Mother Teresa. More than 1400 priests, without taking account also those, who followed the canonization mass standing out of the sanctuary.
Dear believers, I want to say that Mother Teresa was very simple and humble! She had the courage to look into people’s eyes and to tell how much the world is sunk in crime. She could stand before world leaders and, looking into their eyes, to tell the truth and call them to examination of conscience. This is the very mission of a Christian. Mother Teresa didn’t do miracles in her individual life, but one miracle that she did, was helping the poor as much as she could.
A simple example, a simple life, but God glorified her in that simplicity and humility of life. The core of today’s reflection is: to do the duty to which each of us is called, the duty of justice, of peace, of morality, of high feelings and at the same time to the testimony of the most humble and simple life. The greatness, the beauty, the testimony of Christ, who gave us all gifts, all occasions, so that we will also be able to be holy, are all in this reflection. My wish is, that we be able to be led by the Light of Christ, so that by putting His protecting hand over us, He could help us to reach to God. Amen”.
At the end of the Holy Mass, His Exc. Raphael Archbishop Minassian blessed those present with the relic of Mother Teresa. Then the sisters invited all to be present on the beautiful theatrical event prepared by the children.
It was a unique event, it’s hardly possible to witness such a scene every day: children with disabilities tried to present an episode from Mother Teresa’s personal notes, a story from the Mother Teresa’s work with sick, elderly and children in Calcutta. Some of the children were playing parts of people with disabilities. A shy and humble girl-Anahit-was playing Mother Teresa and taking care for others, and several children were helping her, showing a beautiful example of love service, of works of mercy. Reflecting on that scene, especially during this Jubilee year of Mercy, is all the more useful and fruitful for all of us.
I stared at the happy faces of those children and the young people, when they were playing their roles: they were excited, but very happy that they could present the audience their best, present what they have learned about Mother Teresa, what they know about God, about Mercy, about world, about themselves, and about what they have seen and learned from Mother Teresa’s sisters, who have replaced their parents, almost from the cradle. There are some who are already 30, one or two even older, they have spent their entire life in that house of Spitak, in sisters’ family, it is there that they learned to deal with people, to love and also to confront, insist on their own opinion, here they have also learned to forgive their parents, their relatives, who have abandoned them and preferred to live a more comfortable life, without bearing the hardship of caring for them, and the most important thing is that in that house the children have learnt to thank God for all that they have, despite all the things, that they have never had, unlike many of their peers. They enjoy the most important: the boundless mercy of God, which the sisters of Mother Teresa and the benefactors show them devotedly; from different parts of the world and sometimes from Armenia as well.
Mother Teresa came to Armenia after the earthquake of 1988, to help the victims of the disaster. Her sisters founded houses in Spitak and Erevan. The house of Spitak is located in a village called “Italian”, beside the road from Spitak to Erevan. Here 6 sisters are taking care for about 40 children and adults with disabilities and different illnesses, who for the most part are abandoned by parents, some others are orphans. Sisters are taking care for their all needs, raising money and taking them for the necessary surgeries, medical care, organize their therapy, logo-therapy, psychological development and, most importantly, spiritual life. Every day they take part in the Holy Mass, which is provided mainly by Jesuit priests, sometimes, and in their absence, by the Armenian Catholic priests, serving in Armenia. There are also other prayers, catechism classes, lessons for singing, handicraft. The majority of children understand, speak and pray not only in Armenian but also in English, as they have heard that language from sisters since their childhood.
Besides helping the children and adults living in their house, the sisters of Mother Teresa help also the neighboring villagers with finance, medicine, food and other issues, organize catechism classes for them. Meanwhile, the sisters themselves, faithful to the rules of their Mother Teresa, are living a simple and a poorest life, trying to be the poorest of the poor. They even refuse the gifts, which can make easy their everyday life, for example they refuse to accept a washing machine. Sisters are doing their best, so that others can go forward through the life being loved and with full of unique sense of gratitude for the Lord. Mother Teresa lived in that way and even now with the same spirit she intercedes for all those who turn to her for help.
Translated by Narineh Galoyan