(Biblical Educational Poem) Babylon And The Great Whore

BABYLON AND THE GREAT WHORE

 

Do we seek what is Truth, or do we seek flowers

Comfort of the flesh does not equal what is Truth

That which is Truth raises condemnation by the world

Lie to the world and they will praise all that you do

The wicked lay in wait to adorn the evil with gold

 

Babylon does not lay in ruin in western Iraq as some believe

You are told that which is true yet you do not see or understand

Some think the Power Cities of today is Revelation’s meaning

Understand, the residence of Saint Peter, this is the wicked city

The Language of the Mediterranean, Babylon shall cease to be

 

The Great Whore resides within the sphere of this ancient city

Babylon’s Great Whore has spread her evil upon the seven lands

Saint Peter was never the Rock upon which this Witch was built

She has billed Herself as the Bride of Christ, yet She will not be

People, understand, Rome is the City, the Vatican rides the Beast

 

 

Former Pope Benedict XVI says he’s preparing for ‘Home’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Former Pope Benedict XVI says he’s preparing for ‘Home’

(CNN)Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says he “is on a pilgrimage toward Home” in a rare public letter published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The brief note in Italian apparently came after the paper asked the Pope Emeritus for a response to readers who were wondering how he was.
“I can only say,” Benedict wrote, “that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage toward Home.”
“It is a great grace for me to be surrounded on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined,” he wrote.
The 90-year-old former Pontiff has been living quietly at the Vatican since his surprise resignation as Pope in 2013.

sot vault pope benedict xvi first speech_00013817.jpg

Here’s the full text of Benedict’s letter:
“I was moved by the many readers of your newspaper who desire to know how I am spending this last period of my life. I can only say that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage towards Home. It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined. In this sense, I consider the question of your readers as an accompaniment. I can only thank them and assure you all of my prayers.”

‘Chop him up’: Accusers seethe over Cardinal Law’s funeral plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

‘Chop him up’: Accusers seethe over Cardinal Law’s funeral plans

Story highlights

  • Pope Francis will deliver a final blessing at Law’s funeral, the Vatican said
  • Some sex abuse survivors have urged against a “celebratory focus” on Law

(CNN)Alexa MacPherson says very little about Cardinal Bernard Law’s death — or the Catholic Church’s plans for a full cardinal’s funeral — gives her peace of mind.

MacPherson, a Boston-area native who says she is a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest, says Law deserves no such dignity as the funeral that will be held for him at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Thursday.
Law, 86, died Wednesday, 15 years after he resigned as Boston’s archbishop amid allegations that he covered up for pedophile priests like the one accused of abusing MacPherson.
“With his passing, I say I hope the gates of hell are open wide to welcome him, because I feel … no redemption (for Law)” is worthwhile, MacPherson said Wednesday.
Robert Costello, another Boston-area native who says a priest abused him, and that Law covered for the cleric, was just as blunt.
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“Chop him up and put weights on every piece of body part that he has and drop him in oceans around the world,” Costello, 56, said.
Instead of being given a Vatican funeral, he said, Law should just “disappear.”
MacPherson and Costello vented to reporters Wednesday in the Boston office of attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents many who accuse priests of sex abuse.
Costello’s first thought upon hearing that Law died, he said, was, “Where’s the party? Where are we going to celebrate?”
“And then I realized it would be no celebration whatsoever,” he said. “It would be a meeting of people who tell their stories and bring it all back up again.”

Survivors’ group urges against pomp

The Vatican said early Wednesday that Law, 86, had died in Rome after a long illness. He served in Rome as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major after he was forced to resign in 2002 as Boston archbishop.

Cardinal Bernard Law, seen here in Novemember 2012 at the Vatican, died after a long illness, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Critics say his reassignment to Rome amounted to a cushy second career that shouldn’t have been afforded him.
Widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Boston Archdiocese was uncovered by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative reporting team, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts. A big-screen dramatization of the team’s investigation in the 2015 movie, “Spotlight,” won the 2016 Best Picture Academy Award, bringing the story to a much wider audience.
The funeral plans for Law appear to follow the Catholic Church’s protocol for cardinals who die in Rome, even as a network of survivors of sex abuse by priests has publicly called on the Vatican to keep survivors in mind when planning the event.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate the funeral Mass, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Vatican said. Pope Francis then will give a “final commendation,” or blessing, as he has previously for cardinals’ funerals.
Before the funeral plans were announced, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests had urged against a “celebratory focus” on Law.
“We highly doubt there is a single victim of abuse who will ever receive the same attention, pomp and circumstance by Pope Francis,” the network said in a news release after Law’s death.

From left to right, Robert Costello, attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Phil Saviano and Alexa MacPherson speak at Garabedian's Boston office about the death of Cardinal Bernard Law on Wednesday.

“Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican why,” the group’s statement reads. “Why Law’s life was so celebrated when Boston’s clergy sex abuse survivors suffered so greatly? Why was Law promoted when Boston’s Catholic children were sexually abused, ignored, and pushed aside time and time again?”
The survivors’ network said the “celebratory focus on abuse enablers like Law must end.”
“It is time for the Vatican to refocus on change: protecting children and those who have been hurt,” the statement reads.

Law’s successor apologizes to victims

Law’s successor as Boston’s archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, reacted to Law’s death in part by apologizing to victims of sex abuse by clergy.
“I recognize that Cardinal Law’s passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones,” O’Malley said.
“To those men and women,” he added, “I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.”
“Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities. I deeply regret that reality and its consequences,” O’Malley said.

‘Opening it all up again’

Phil Saviano, who also says a priest sexually abused him, told reporters Wednesday that he’s relieved Law is gone. Law had been in a position to do good and expose abusers, but instead chose to stand up for the priests, he said.
But relief is not the same as healing, he said.
“I had been hoping that the passing of Cardinal Law would remove a target of great anger and animosity and consternation that survivors have felt about him,” he told reporters at Garabedian’s office. “(But) it’s not a source of healing. It’s not a removal of the pain for survivors.
“If anything, it’s sort of like opening it all up again.”
MacPherson, like Costello, said she doesn’t feel like the Vatican should give Law the funeral that he’s getting.
“I think it should be very quiet and not celebrated.,” she said. “There’s nothing to celebrate (with) somebody who allowed children to be victimized and to have a lifetime of irreparable damage.”

Ex-Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Ex-Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86

Cardinal Bernard Francis Law is pictured last year during a mass in Vatican City

Story highlights

  • Former Boston cardinal died after a long illness, Vatican says
  • He resigned as archbishop in 2002

(CNN)Bernard Law, the former Boston cardinal who resigned in disgrace during the church sex abuse scandal, has died, the Vatican has confirmed.

Law died in Rome, where he served as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major after he was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston in 2002.
The Vatican issued a press release early Wednesday confirming the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, with one line reading “Cardinal Bernard Law died early this morning after a long illness.”
Law never faced criminal sanctions for his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in church parishes. The scandal reverberated through the church, exposing similar allegations worldwide that compromised its moral authority and led to years of multimillion-dollar settlements. To his detractors, his second career at the Vatican was a slap in the face to victims of church sex abuse, one that further undermined the church’s legitimacy.

Rise of Boston’s spiritual leader

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Law was born in Torreon, Mexico, on November 4, 1931, to Helen and Bernard Law, an Air Force colonel. He did his postgraduate studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Louisiana and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He was ordained as a priest in the Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, diocese on May 21, 1961 and became vicar general of the Natchez-Jackson diocese in 1971.
In 1973, he was made bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in southern Missouri. He served as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interracial Affairs and in 1976 he was named to the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with Jews.
The posts were stepping stones to his becoming the spiritual leader of Boston’s large and influential Catholic community. In 1984, Pope John Paul II appointed Law to be the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, consisting of 362 parishes serving 2.1 million members. That same year, Law received a letter from a bishop expressing concerns about Rev. John Geoghan. Law assigned Geoghan to another parish despite the allegations.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II elevated Law to cardinal, one of just 13 Americans holding that office at the time.

Spotlight team investigates cover-up

The church sexual abuse scandal widened in July of 2001, when Law admitted receiving the letter in 1984 outlining the child molestation allegations against Geoghan. Geoghan was eventually convicted of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year old boy.
Law’s fall began in January 2002, one week after The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team revealed that he and other bishops before him covered for pedophile priests in the Boston Archdiocese. In a news conference, Law apologized to victims of abuse by Geoghan but insisted the abuse was in the past.
The Boston Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into the widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy. The scandal and investigation also inspired a film in 2015, which won the Oscar for best picture in 2016.

Calls for resignation

Law attempted to resign as Archbishop of Boston in April 2002, but Pope John Paul II rejected the resignation. In 2002, a judge presiding over the child rape case of Rev. Paul Shanley ordered Cardinal Law to be deposed by lawyers of one of Shanley’s victims.
Law testified about his supervision of Geoghan in 2002, saying he relied on his assistants to investigate charges of abuse. In May 2002, he apologized for his role in the clergy abuse scandal in a letter distributed throughout the archdiocese. But he denied knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Shanley until 1993.
In August 2002, Law appeared in court to testify about a settlement reached between the archdiocese of Boston and victims of clergy abuse. The archdiocese rescinded the monetary offer shortly afterward.
In December, as calls grew for him to resign, Law was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating “possible criminal violations by church officials who supervised priests accused of sexually abusing children.” Days later, he resigned as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America, followed by his resignation as archbishop of Boston.

Colombian rebels ask Pope for forgiveness

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Colombian rebels ask Pope for forgiveness

Colombian President: Pope has ‘tremendous leadership’

Villavicencio, Colombia (CNN)Amid lush greenery and tropical humidity, Pope Francis touched down in Villavicencio on Friday, bringing his message of peace to one of the most notorious sites of guerrilla warfare in Colombia for the past 50 years.

Here, in one of the last major cities before the vast expanse of the Amazon, the Pope listened to powerful testimonies from ex-guerrilla fighters and from victims of their violence, such as Pastora Mira Garcia, who lost her father, husband and two children during the civil war.
“Do not be afraid of asking for forgiveness and offering it,” the Pope told them. “It is time to defuse hatred, to renounce vengeance.”
It is a message the Pope has echoed throughout this five-day visit in the country, aiming to help Colombians, many of whose memories are still fresh with crimes committed against them, embrace the historic peace agreement reached in December 2016.

Rebels ask for forgiveness

There are signs that Francis’ words may be having an effect.
In an open letter to the Pope published on Friday, Rodrigo Londono, former leader of the leftist guerrilla group FARC, asked for forgiveness from Francis for the actions of his group during five decades of war.
“Your repeated expressions about God’s infinite mercy move me to plead your forgiveness for any tears and pain that we have caused the people of Colombia, Londono wrote.
At a Mass on Friday, Pope Francis beatified two Catholic priests who were murdered during the years of the civil war, calling their martyrdom a sign “of a people who wish to rise up out of the swamp of violence and bitterness.”
Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca was kidnapped and shot twice in the head by Colombian Marxist guerrillas in 1989.
The Rev. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, known asNM! the “martyr of Armero,” was killed at the start of the Colombian civil war in 1948. The conflict claimed an estimated 220,000 lives.

Pope meets Venezuelan bishops

On Thursday, in an unscheduled private meeting, Pope Francis briefly spoke with bishops who had come from Venezuela.
Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, told reporters in Bogota that the bishops had come to ask the Pope for help for the “desperate situation,” in their country.
“There are people who eat garbage,” Urosa said, “yes, the garbage, and there are people who die because there is no medicine.”
“So we want to remind the Pope of this again and especially the serious political situation, because the government is doing everything possible to establish a state system, totalitarian and Marxist.”
Francis continues his visit in Medellin on Saturday and Cartagena on Sunday, before returning to the Vatican later that evening.

The Vatican’s Swiss Guard Just Added 40 New Members

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis Delivers First 'Urbi Et Orbi' Blessing During Easter Mass In St. Peter's Square
Swiss guards perform ceremonial duties during Holy Easter Mass held by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s square on March 31, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Franco Origlia—Getty Images

The Vatican’s Swiss Guard Just Added 40 New Members

2:55 PM ET

(VATICAN CITY) — The world’s oldest standing army has 40 new members after a Vatican Swiss Guard swearing-in ceremony.

Each man took a loyalty oath Saturday evening in a ritual-rich ceremony in the St. Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. The May 6 date commemorates the day in 1527 when 147 guardsmen died while protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome.

Earlier Saturday, Pope Francis told the Guards they’re called to “another sacrifice no less arduous” — serving the power of faith.

The recruits, who enroll for at least two years, must be single, upstanding Swiss Catholic males younger than 30.

Wearing blue-and-gold uniforms and holding halberds — spear-like weapons — they are a tourist delight while standing guard at Vatican ceremonies. Their main duty is to protect the pope.

Pope Francis Gives A Message Of Tolerance And Peace At A Mass In Cairo Egypt

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Cairo (CNN) Pope Francis sent a message of tolerance and co-existence Saturday in a Mass at a Cairo stadium before concluding his two-day trip to Egypt.

Francis’ trip came nearly two weeks after the Palm Sunday bombing of two Coptic churches, which left at least 45 people dead.
Heavy security surrounded Francis as he entered Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium in an open golf cart.

Security surrounds Pope Francis at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo.

He waved at worshippers and stopped momentarily to bless a group of children in costume. Parts of the stadium stands were draped with his photo as well as Egyptian and Vatican flags.
“Religiosity means nothing unless it is inspired by deep faith and charity,” Francis said.
“True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane,” he said.
“God is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity! Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him.”
The Pope started his Mass with the “As-Salaam Alaikum,” the traditional Muslim greeting in Arabic that means “Peace be upon you,” and ended it with “al-Masih qam! Bi-l-haqiqa qam! (Christ is risen! He is truly risen)”.
A Vatican spokesman said 15,000 people attended the Mass at the stadium, which holds 30,000.
The Pope later met with members of Egypt’s small Coptic Catholic community at St. Leo’s Patriarchal Seminary in Cairo’s Maadi neighborhood.
In a more intimate setting than his earlier Mass, Francis urged gathered priests, nuns and worshippers to be the religious builders of peace in Egypt, saying that despite “difficult circumstances, you must endure.”
“Although there are many reasons to be discouraged, and many prophets of destruction and condemnation … may you be the sowers of hope, builders of bridges and agents of dialogue and harmony,” he said.
Later Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and an honor guard met the Pope at the airport in a farewell ceremony before he departed for Rome.

Tackling roots of violent extremism

On Friday, Francis stressed the importance of unity between Muslims and Christians to shape world peace.
“Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No!’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” he said in Italian in a speech at a peace conference at Al-Azhar University, the premier seat of high learning among Sunni Muslims.
Francis met with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb and became the first pontiff to visit the institution since Pope John Paul II in 2000.
The two religious leaders spoke at the closing of the International Conference for Peace, organized by Al-Azhar. Greeting the grand imam, Francis called him “my brother” and sat by his side at the conference.
The Pope took on a familiar theme: the roots of violent extremism.

Eliminating poverty and exploitation

Francis opened his speech with “As-Salaam Alaikum” after the imam’s address.
“In order to prevent conflicts and build peace, it is essential that we spare no effort in eliminating situations of poverty and exploitation where extremism more easily takes root, and in blocking the flow of money and weapons destined to those who provoke violence,” he said.
Francis called for an end to the “proliferation of arms” and lambasted “demagogic forms of populism.”
“If they are produced and sold, sooner or later they will be used,” he said. “Only by bringing into the light of day the murky maneuverings that feed the cancer of war can its real causes be prevented. National leaders, institutions and the media are obliged to undertake this urgent and grave task.”
Tayeb addressed the status of faith in modern life.
“With all these accomplishments (of the 21st century), how come peace has become a lost paradise? The answer, I assume, is that modern civilization has ignored religion,” he said.
After the peace conference, Francis and the Egyptian President addressed religious and political dignitaries at Al-Masa Hotel.
The Pope, again speaking in Italian, focused on Egypt’s role in fighting terrorism, evoking events from biblical and modern history. He ceremonially greeted all Egyptian people, including minority Christians — Coptic Orthodox, Greek Byzantines, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics.

12-point declaration

Pope Tawadros II, head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, then greeted Francis at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassiya district, state TV said. They walked together in procession and took part in ecumenical prayers at the adjacent church of St. Peter, the site of a deadly blast in December that left at least 23 people dead.
Francis commended the efforts of Tawadros II, whom he called a brother, in organizing meetings between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches.
Francis and Tawadros II signed a joint, 12-point declaration reiterating the fraternity between their churches. “Let us intensify our unceasing prayer for all Christians in Egypt and throughout the whole world, and especially in the Middle East,” the declaration says.

Pope Francis: Read The Bible As Often As You Check Your Cellphone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE VATICAN AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis: Read the Bible as Often as You Check Your Cellphone

12:51 PM Eastern

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.

Francis urged a packed St. Peter’s Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.”

The message was a twist on Francis’ frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.

China’s “Head Of Religious Affairs” Nor President Jinping Have Any Clue What Religion Is

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

China: Willing to have talks with Vatican but Catholics must be patriots

China’s head of religious affairs said that Beijing is willing to have constructive dialogue with the Vatican but stressed that Catholics should “hold up high the flag of patriotism” and adapt Catholicism to Chinese society.

Wang Zuo’an, the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, made the remarks Tuesday at a meeting of China’s official Catholic Church, which includes bishops, priests and lay Catholics, state media reported.

Beijing insists that the party-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association has the authority to appoint Chinese bishops, a right that the Holy See says belongs to the pope alone. This dispute over bishop nominations is the most vexing stumbling block preventing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

China severed relations with the Holy See in 1951 after the Communists took over, and the officially atheistic government closed churches and imprisoned priests, some for decades. Worship is officially allowed only in state-authorized churches outside the pope’s authority, although many of China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are thought to attend underground churches.

Wang said the Chinese government hoped that the Vatican can adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude, and take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for improving relations, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. No details were given of what actions Beijing expects.

The ruling Communist Party has long feared that opposition to its rule could be spread by religious and other civic groups outside its control. In May last year, President Xi Jinping called for religions to adapt to Chinese society, which he termed the “sinicization of religion.”

On Tuesday, Wang stressed the importance of patriotism within religion and “pushing ahead with the sinicization of Catholicism.”

Pope Francis said earlier this year that Beijing and the Vatican have resumed working groups on the naming of bishops issue and that he is “optimistic” for an agreement, but that it will take time.

More on this…

  • Pope in Christmas speech blasts Vatican resistance to reform

  • Vatican upset China ordination marred by illegitimate bishop

  • Female relatives of jailed Venezuelan dissidents chain themselves in front of Vatican

Just last week, the Vatican said it was saddened that the ordination of two new Chinese bishops was marred by the presence of a bishop ordained without the pope’s consent.

It also said it was awaiting the outcome of this week’s meeting of the Chinese Catholic Church and hoped it would give Catholics in China confidence in the Vatican-China dialogue.

Mother Teresa To Be ‘Declared’ A Saint Tomorrow

(This article is courtesy of the BBC Europe news agency)

Mother Teresa: The humble sophisticate

  • 1 hour ago
  • From the sectionEurope
Mother TeresaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Mother Teresa, who died in Kolkata, India, 19 years ago, will be formally declared a Saint of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis at a Vatican ceremony on Sunday. David Willey, who has reported from Rome for the BBC during five decades, tells how he once spent an hour sitting and talking informally with the new saint in an unlikely setting, the arrivals hall at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

I immediately understood that the woman already known as the “Saint of the Slums” of Kolkata was at the same time a very humble and simple caring person and a sophisticated international traveller.

She constantly jetted around the world, visiting her Missionaries of Charity, the religious order she had founded in 1950, so I suppose it was appropriate that we should meet, not in her motherhouse near the Coliseum in Rome, or in one of her hospices for the dying in India, but amid the bustle of an airport.

We sat together in the arrivals section and she quickly had me laughing as she proudly showed off her Air India travel pass, which entitled her to a lifetime of free worldwide air travel – a gift of the Indian government.

Indian nuns from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of CharityImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionToday there are 6,000 followers of Mother Teresa working in 139 countries

I had been trying to arrange an interview with her for months, but the nuns at her Rome headquarters kept putting me off. Finally they rang me to say she would be arriving on such-and-such a flight from India and departing an hour-and-a-half later to Canada and I could meet her for a brief talk at the airport.

She was a tiny figure and her face was already rather wizened. She was immediately recognizable as she emerged alone through the arrival doors clutching a small white cloth bag, dressed in the blue-trimmed white cotton Indian sari and veil which she had adopted as the uniform dress for members of her missionary order.

“Do you have to pick up your suitcase as you are in transit?” I asked, feeling slightly foolish for suggesting that a living saint might misplace her baggage tag.

“No,” she replied. “I carry around all my worldly possessions with me in this little bag. My personal needs are very simple!”

Before tackling more weighty metaphysical and theological matters and hearing how she devoted her life to the poorest of the poor, I decided to try to find out more about how a living saint organised her travels. I was intrigued by her Air India free travel pass.

“How do you plan ahead?” I asked, in the pre-mobile phone era.

Mother Teresa in KolkataImage copyright  IMAGES
Image caption Mother Teresa worked with the dying and destitute in Kolkata for nearly half a century

“Well I usually ring up, from a coin box at the airport, the head of state or the prime minister or Pope John Paul at the Vatican if I am in Rome – and they send a car to the airport to meet me,” she said.

By the time I met her in the late 1980’s, Mother Teresa’s sisters and affiliated brothers and fathers had already grown to become an international family of 1,800 nuns and many thousands of lay workers.

Today they number nearly 6,000 and are active in 139 countries. Her order knows practically no territorial boundaries and she was already setting up homes and hospices and recruiting in Eastern Europe long before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union.

She opened two centers in Hong Kong as early as 1983, but China has so far resisted attempts by the order to minister to their poor.

As the minutes ticked by, Mother Teresa went on to explain to me her single-minded devotion to her work of ministering to the sick, the dying and the disabled.

Pope John Paul II with Mother TeresaImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMother Teresa was a close friend of Pope John Paul II

In her own words: “Our mission was to care for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to society and are shunned by everyone.”

Pope John Paul II had visited Mother Teresa’s hospice for the dying in Kolkata during his pilgrimage to India in 1986 and the two became close friends.

Mother Teresa frequently appeared at Vatican ceremonies at the Pope’s side until her death. Later, in record time, in 2003 she was herself created a Blessed of the Roman Catholic Church, marking her final step towards full sainthood.

Her flight to Toronto was called and we walked together to the departures hall. She disappeared behind the automatic doors, still clutching her small cloth bag and passing unrecognized, it seemed to me, among the throngs of passengers crisscrossing the transit zone.

I knew I had met a living saint; she had touched my heart, transmitted her sense of joy for life, and she had also made me laugh.

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