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
And a 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)
I was curious about why this church in Illinois had a statue of Mother Teresa. I learned 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.
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.
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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
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