Lessons I learned from Mother Teresa: Humility, joy, and service, says author
ST. CHARLES, Il (The Catholic Observer) - “We give most when we give with joy,” was just one of Mother Teresa’s lessons shared by missionary, author, artist and television hostess Susan Conroy.
A Mass celebrated by Bishop Thomas G. Doran and the installation of the new DCCW officers also took place during the day-long convention.
Conroy, who spent 11 years working with Mother Teresa, told the women gathered about life lessons she learned from this “modern-day saint.” “When I first came to India in 1986 at the age of 20, all I had was myself to give. Mother Teresa welcomed anyone with hands to serve, a heart to help and love to give,” Conroy said. “If you have hands and a heart the only other thing you need is joy, cheerfulness and a sense of humor.”
A native of Portland, Maine and the seventh of 10 children, Conroy was a student at Dartmouth College when she decided to travel to India and help out in the orphanages and homes for the dying. “Nothing I ever witnessed in my upbringing had prepared me for the poverty of Calcutta. I remember having to walk in the gutters because there were so many people actually sleeping and living in the streets.” Conroy’s sense of humor was also tested in India. “I’m not like St. Francis of Assisi; I don’t like bugs and in India, there are lots of cockroaches and lizards,” she joked. “Of course, when the other volunteers I worked with pointed out that the lizards ate the cockroaches; I grew to appreciate the lizards.”
The opportunity to learn spiritual lessons from Mother Teresa was a definite highlight of Conroy’s time in India. “When I arrived in India, my only training was having hands, a heart and joy in working with the orphans, the sick and the dying,” Conroy remarked.
“In working with Mother Teresa, I saw how her humility, willingness and love transformed the lives of others. From Mother Teresa I learned, ‘Joy is half the gift you bring.’”
‘You do it to me’
Conroy’s experiences in Calcutta working with Mother Teresa are the basis for her book, Mother Teresa: Lessons in Love and Secrets of Sanctity. From her work with Mother Teresa, Conroy was also inspired to render a drawing of two hands touching with Mother Teresa’s words, “you do it to me” inscribed on the fingers of the dominant hand.
Conroy has recently signed a contract with EWTN to host a mini-series on the lives of saints. The programs are set to begin airing in June.
Bishop Thomas G. Doran installed the new officers of the DCCW during Mass at the convention. They are: President Jeanette Gawronski, Church of the Holy Spirit, Roscoe; First Vice-President Sue Greskoviak, St. Patrick Parish, St. Charles; Second Vice-President Patricia Wightman, St. Joseph Parish, Richmond, and Treasurer Pat Leatherwood, St. Therese of Jesus Parish, Aurora. The day concluded with a prayer service.
This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Observer(observer.rockforddiocese.org), official newspaper of the Diocese of Rockford, Ill.
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