Mother Teresa’s life and legacy

Although she was not medically trained, people remember Mother Teresa for her compassion and care for sick and suffering people. I had an unexpected chance “encounter” with Mother Teresa .

A few years ago I went to Peoria Illinois for medical training for a new job. I had never been there before so one afternoon I did some exploring.

I came across this magnificent church

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

an ornate church

And a statue of Mother Teresa
statue of the nun Mother Teresa
I stoppedto get a better look and while exploring the grounds found this statue of Mother Teresa.

Who was Mother Teresa?

Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. She was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Her father died suddenly and under mysterious circumstances when she was only 8 years old.  Her mother taught her to care about all people, especially the destitute, although they were far from well off themselves.

She  felt a call to religious life as a young girl, and after becoming a nun, Sister Teresa first worked as a teacher. Later, she felt a second call, this time to work among the poor and sick in Calcutta India. Now known as Mother Teresa, it took her a year to get permission to leave the convent for the slums of Calcutta.

With some of her former students, she founded the Missionaries of Charity. Their projects included founding a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic and a string of mobile health clinics. She also opened Gift of Love, a home to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS.

For her work, Mother Teresa was awarded many honors and awards, including the  1979 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work “in bringing help to suffering humanity.”

Despite her acclaim, Mother Teresa remained  modest and humble. After her death, some of her private writings became public, revealing she often doubted her faith and felt lost and alone. Although people criticized her for this, others see it as a reflection of her true faith in God, remaining devout even when she didn’t feel certain, something many of us can understand.

She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003. In December 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized as a saint in 2016. (source biography.com)

2015-01-23 12.24.18

I was curious about why this church in Illinois had a statue of Mother Teresa. I found a story about the church at  Peoria Public Library . Mother Teresa visited Peoria twice because some nuns from the Missionaries of Charity worked there at St. Mary’s. On one occasion she spoke to a group of women saying,

 “I am a poor woman that prays.”

A local artist, Lonnie Stewart, travelled to India to sketch Mother Teresa, then completed the 6 foot tall statue of her, unveiling it at the church in 1998.

God has not called us to be successful, but to be helpful.”

Mother Teresa

WAtch Mother teresa on Amazon

The inspirational portrayal of Mother Teresa, a simple nun who became one of the most significant personalities of the 20th Century. Armed with a faith that could move mountains, Mother Teresa followed her calling to help the poor, the lepers, the dying and the abandoned children in the slums of Calcutta, challenging many authorities – including the church – along the way.

(There are affiliate links in this post  provided for your convenience and to  allow this blog to earn a commission from sales at no extra cost to you. )

Mother Teresa”Anyway” Quotes Wall Art- “Do It Anyway”-

x 10″ Vintage Art Wall Print-Ready to Frame. Distressed Inspirational Home, Studio & Office Décor. Perfect Life Quotes for Peace & Good Will.

exploring the HEART of Mother Teresa

Thanks for sharing this visit with Mother Teresa with me. If you go to Peoria be sure you visit the Cathedral

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr Aletha

the words FAITH, LOVE, HOPE with a heart on a red background
graphic from LIGHTSTOCK, an affiliate

non-drug ways to get well and stay well

In a previous post I introduced you to Mind Over Meds by Dr. Andrew Weil . I reviewed 7 classes of medications he teaches we should use less often. 

In another previous post I shared 7 drug classes I consider overused, 4 of which he discusses in his book.

In this follow up post I list alternatives to drug therapy. These are also adjuncts to medication- meaning we recommend using them even if you do need medication.

Dr. Weil mentions these in his book, and I’ve pulled from other sources too.

This is a brief overview of several approaches, not a complete list. If you are interested in knowing more, I suggest exploring the reference links. I invite you to send me a message about a topic you would like me to explore in more depth here.

This post uses affiliate links  that support this blog and non-affiliate links that don’t.

 

EAT TO TREAT

I, Dr. Weil and most physicians recommend diet changes to treat and prevent many common medical conditions. Almost any health issue can be improved with better food choices.

bottle of olive oil
Olive oil is an important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet .

The Mediterranean diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish,  and healthy fats like olive oil, seems to protect against heart disease and increase longevity.

The DASH diet is the first choice to lower blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and also emphasizes fresh foods and healthy choices.

The American Diabetes Association offers extensive information on eating to control diabetes.

Food choices are also important in treating high cholesterol, GERD, allergy, heart disease, overweight, gout, kidney stones and other kidney disease, and possibly other conditions.

 

 

 

PLANTS THAT TREAT

Herbal medicines are endorsed by Dr. Weil; he points out that early synthetic drugs were derived from plants. Unfortunately most physicians have not had extensive training in their use. They are also not regulated as stringently as prescription drugs so quality may not be uniform.

Herbal medicines are used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms including headaches, gastric distress, hot flushes, depression, insomnia, pain, allergy among others. Scientific confirmation of their effectiveness is lacking for most, but some patients find them helpful and some physicians endorse, or at best tolerate their use.

The unsupervised use of herbs and other dietary supplements can be dangerous, especially if combined with other drugs.

 

 

USING OUR MINDS

Mind-body therapies can be helpful in managing painful conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), migraine, joint pain, and anxiety/depressive disorders. These include

  • Hyposis
  • Biofeedback
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation techniques

 

 TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Breath work- changing habits of breathing and specific breathing techniques can relieve anxiety, and manage stress. Dr. Weil calls

Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing and teaches how to do it in this recording. 

 

 

GET MOVING

Exercise and other forms of physical activity help manage all kinds of musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, lowers blood pressure, aids weight loss,relieves anxiety and depression.  They may even have a role in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia. This includes

woman standing on a rock in a forest
Walking, especially outdoors, can relieve feelings of stress and tension as well as improve physical fitness.  Photo from Lightstock.com

  • Yoga
  • Tai chai
  • Aerobics
  • Strength training
  • Dance
  • Sports
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling

 

Dr Aletha in her bicycle helmet
I’m riding my bicycle while my neighbor is walking with his baby. It all counts.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

 

 TOUCH

Manual medicine is used to manage back, neck, and other musculoskeletal pain and headaches.

  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Osteopathic manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • TNS-transcutaneous nerve stimulation
  • Massage
  • Support with splints, wraps, slings, braces

 

 

 

TRAINING THE MIND

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other forms of psychotherapy should be a part of the treatment of most mental disorders and may be the only treatment needed for mild conditions. The use of therapy animals also fits here.

 

 

CHANGING OUR LIVES

 

Lifestyle evaluation and adjustments can improve any medical condition and is also one of the most important factors in prevention of disease.

a sink with colorful wall decorations
Who knew handwashing could be entertaining?

Hygiene                           

Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent many infections, especially those that can be transmitted by food and water. Proper food preparation and storage and kitchen clean up also contribute to safety.

a bed in a room
One’s sleep environment affects quality of sleep.

Sleep

Habits that create sleep deprivation or poor sleep contribute to depression,musculoskeletal pain, headaches, fatigue, and even make us more prone to infection. Check out this previous post on how to get a good night’s sleep

Chemicals and pollutants

Avoidance of allergens and toxins should be automatic. For allergy, any known allergens -substances that cause allergy symptoms-can often be eliminated from one’s immediate environment, although I have had patients who insisted on keeping pets that they were allergic to. If the allergens cannot be completely eliminated, you can at least minimize exposure.

It seems we call everything a “toxin” these days, and detox regimens are popular. (although our bodies naturally detox us every day).

Anything in excess can be harmful. But our overall health as a society would improve immensely if more people would avoid the obvious toxins of tobacco, excess alcohol, and illicit drugs.

sign says NO smoking, wilderness area
When walking, wear proper shoes; and don’t smoke.

Review 7 surprising reasons to be smoke free

Stress management 

Many of the techniques I’ve mentioned help with stress management. In turn, managing the stressful events and situations in our lives can help us feel more rested, less tense, more relaxed, calmer, and able to manage our other medical problems better.

FamilyDoctor.org offers these steps to

Managing Daily Stress 

Resources about  integrative and complementary medical treatments

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The Office of Dietary Supplements 

exploring the HEART of a healthy lifestyle  

If you found this post helpful, please share with friends and colleagues. And let me know too. I welcome feedback and use it to plan future posts.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Stethoscope and Apple isolated on a white background

Dr Aletha

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