LDS Tributes to Mother Teresa

By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve [1]

A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city.  He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing.  This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics.  Not withstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had.  “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion.  “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].  Soberly, the journalist concluded that Christianity is obviously not a statistical endeavor.  He reasoned that if there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety and nine who need no repentance, then apparently God is not overly preoccupied with percentages.

By Elder Robert C. Gay, First Quorum of the Seventy [2]

Seated on the podium the day I marched down the aisle in my Harvard graduation robe was Mother Teresa.  She rose and delivered on of the most memorable speeches ever given at Harvard–a profound call to service and repentance.  She expressed the hope that we graduates, “in going into the world, [would] go with Jesus, [would] work for Jesus, and [would] serve him in distressing guise of the poor.”

Mother Teresa in India

Mother Teresa in India

She also shared the following story of a couple she had met just a few days [earlier]:

A young man and a woman came to our house with a big amount of money.  I asked them, “Where did you get this money?”  They gave me the most strange answer:  “Before our wedding we decided not to buy wedding clothes, not to have a wedding feast, but to give you the money to feed the poor.”  Then I asked them one more question:  “But why, why did you do that?”  That is a scandal in India, not to have a wedding feast and special clothes.  And they gave me this most beautiful answer:  “Out of love for each other, we wanted to give each other something special, and that special something was the big sacrifice, the wonderful something.”

Here was one of the world’s genuine saints reminding us graduates that everyone–not just some fortunate few in the audience that day but even those in the poorest regions of the world with little to their names–has something to give, if nothing more than sacrifice and pure love for others.  Mother Teresa taught us that sacrificing something as simple as new clothing or a meal or a cultural rite of passage could change a life.


[1]  From a General Conference address, “Are We Not All Beggars?” given in October 2014.

[2]  From a commencement address, “Continuing Your Life’s Journey,” given at Brigham Young University-Idaho on July 23, 2013.


This entry was posted in catholicism, mormonism, mother teresa, Personalities, Religion, Social Justice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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