Sister Ana Wim confesses she did not know who she was meeting during her encounter with Mother Teresa in 1976. Yet, she was awestruck. Click here for CT post story
“This woman, growing in fame, was so humble and so simple and so easy to relate to,” Wim, said on Friday. “As I came to know her more and more I became filled with the desire to become more humble, more simple … I can’t say if I succeeded, by I am on the journey.”
She became part of the Missionaries of Charity, a worldwide order founded by Mother Teresa. Since 2001, the mission has had a convent on Beechwood Avenue in Bridgeport, the only one in Connecticut.
At 2 pm Sunday, when Mother Teresa is canonized, all six sisters who live in mission, including Sister Ana Wim, will be among those at a Mass celebrating the event.
The Mass, which is open to the public, will be held around the block from the convent, at St. Peter Church, 695 Colorado Avenue, with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano presiding.
“While we celebrate here in Fairfield County, Pope Francis will be doing the same in Rome,” said the Rev. Joseph Marcello, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull, and coordinator of the Diocesan Year of Mercy.
The Rev. Brian Gannon, pastor of St. Theresa’s in Trumbull, will also participate in the service. He delivers Mass to the Bridgeport Missionaries in their chapel on Monday mornings. Gannon said he met Mother Teresa once in Rome, when he was a seminarian.
“I think Mother Teresa is an incredibly shining example of what being a disciple of Christ is all about,” Gannon said. “She is one of those people everyone thought was a living saint.”
An honored portrait
The pope has declared September 2-4 as a time of Jubilee for Workers of Mercy. Mother Teresa is already referred to by many as the Saint of Mercy, because she worked among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Her work earned her a Nobel Peace Prize.
The sisters in her Bridgeport order run an after-school program and do other charity work. They generally shun publicity, but were invited Friday to the installation of a portrait of Mother Teresa at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven.
Called “St. Teresa of Calcutta: Carrier of God’s Love,” the painting was commissioned by the Knights for the Missionaries of Charity, with whom they have a long. It is that image, created by artist Chas Fagan, a Yale University graduate, that was chosen for the tapestry hanging on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at Mother Teresa’s Vatican canonization.
Reproductions of the portrait will be given to the missionaries, including the one in Bridgeport. “We were thrilled when it was selected to be official image of canonization,” Knights of Columbus Deputy Supreme Knight Logan Ludwig, said.
Ludwig said the Knights have two decades’ worth of correspondence from Mother Teresa, plus an uncashed check she returned when the Knights tried to contribute to the Missionaries of Charity. “She said, ‘I really don’t want our sisters to be dependent on gifts like this from you all the time,’ ” Ludwig related. “(I’d) rather you send us your Knights and let them work with the poorest of the poor.”
‘An interceder with Jesus’
Ludwig said that’s what the organization did, increasing its efforts to work with folks on the margins of society. Mother Teresa would visit the Knights in New Haven in 1987. On Friday, it was sisters from her mission, filling the front row of the museum, wearing the same simple white habits with blue trim and plain brown sandals as Mother Teresa.
Sister Seton, a missionary in Bridgeport for more than four years, said the portrait captures the attention Mother Teresa gave to each person. “She always had a very attentive look in her eye,” Seton said. “At the same time, her eyes are upward. She would always pause, rosary in her hand. She knew she was an interceder with Jesus.”
Sister Seton met Mother Teresa in 1981. She had joined the order only a few months before. “There was a tremendous grace,” the sister said. “She always encouraged us to be holy.” “It makes me feel like she is still here with us,” said Mother Magdelena, the mother superior of the Bridgeport convent.