Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Letters, Biography and Keepers of the Flame

October 19, 2009

Blessed Teresa of CalcuttaBlessed Teresa of Calcutta

The news of Albania asking India for Blessed Teresa’s bones came to my attention the day after I had finished Come be my Light, a collection of her letters. I had previously finished her Authorized Biography by Navin Chawla.

I’m happy to have had both books as her letters are focused on her actions and interior struggles, and references to historical occurrences about which I have no information; she was in India partition, which created Pakistan from Muslim majority areas; later East and West Pakistan separated, creating Bangladesh. Having the biography for context of what’s going on in India at the time helped me a lot in reading her letters.

The letters are wonderful; for decades, Blessed Teresa lived in poverty for Christ, seeing his face in the faces of the poor she assisted, while feeling empty on the inside as she felt he had left her. Knowing what she went through is so helpful in times of personal stress.

The best part of her letters? Right at the end when the doctor tells someone to “go get the box” so she’d calm down during one of her last illnesses. The box in question? The Tabernacle, containing the Real Presence of Jesus.

I highly recommend both of these books for anyone who wants to understand that it’s possible to be closer to God. Even if you feel far away.

The unlikely heirs of her charism to help people to have a holy death, are inmates in New York who volunteer to care for their brethren who are dying in state custody.

And for the FTC, please note that the books were purchased separately at thrift stores. While I have benefited spiritually from having read these books, I have not benefited financially.

Hermandades: The Pious Brotherhoods of Old and New Spain

July 30, 2008

Hermandad del Santo Entierro y Nestra Senora del la Soledad de Manzanas

Brotherhood of the Holy Burial and Our Lady of Solitude of Manzanas

To Americans, these penitential brotherhoods dressed in full regalia can seem a bit scary, but their facinating history and devotion is something we should emulate.

Hermandads (hermandades) are usually associated with the processions of statues, paintings, relics or other sacred objects through public plazas and streets on saints’ feast days and especially during Holy Week in cities and towns across Spain, Portugal and their former colonies in Latin America, India and the Philippines.

While the Hermandad’s chief work is to carry the heavy platforms through the streets on these festival days, to be a member one has to agree to perform various spiritual disciplines as preparation, must be an exemplary Catholic, and be active in the charitable works of the Church. These brotherhoods (which can also include women) are a more pious version of the Knights of Columbus found in the US. Read the rest of this entry »