As a former Confessor for Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, American Msgr John Esseff recalls the day she was late for an appointment with Pope John Paul II in Rome because she was tending to a dying man on the street, reports The Catholic Weekly.
“Mother Teresa was to meet the Pope as she was looking to establish a home for the poorest of the poor in the Vatican,” said the 84-year-old priest, who is in Australia to run spiritual retreats and workshops for the Missionaries of Charity Sisters.
“As we were driving down the avenue leading to the Vatican there on the street lay a dying man.
“She asked one of the Sisters to stop the car. Mother Teresa then got out of the car and she is tending to him, holding his hand and wiping his face.
“The Sisters get a little nervous because she is with him for an hour and a half, kneeling by him and praying with him. Finally the Sisters say to her that she is going to miss the appointment with the Pope.
“She said: ‘You go and take my place. I am with Jesus. Tell the Pope that I am sorry, but I’m here with Christ.’ So she saw Jesus in the poorest of the poor.”
Msgr Esseff says Mother Teresa was “loved by the communists” and retold the story of her meeting with Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. “One day she was with Daniel Ortega, who was the head of the Communists in Nicaragua, and he hated US President Ronald Reagan,” he said.
“She was there with some of the Sisters who had come to Nicaragua to help out following an earthquake, and Ortega was canvassing his political views about Ronald Reagan. He was giving a Communist manifesto.
“Mother Teresa was just standing there and listening. She then said to him: ‘President Reagan really needs prayers doesn’t he?’ Ortega replied: ‘He sure does.’ She then said: ‘And you do too because I was talking to your wife and you’re a Catholic aren’t you?’
“He said: ‘Yes, I am.’ She said: ‘But I understand that you haven’t had your children baptised. You really can’t run a country unless you can run your home. Let’s have your children baptised and I will be their godmother and we will get that done right now’.”
FULL STORY The day Mother Teresa kept the Pope waiting (Catholic Weekly)