As Mother Teresa’s canonization was celebrated yesterday, I am beyond thrilled to celebrate the life of such an incredible saint and role model. I have always loved her, and got to spend time in Haiti working with her order, the Missionaries of Charity, which was a dream come true for me!
I had the opportunity to teach third grade faith formation in Wisconsin a couple years ago. When preparing for the year I was not quite sure how it would go. I had helped with faith formation many years with my mother when I was younger but I had never taught by myself. I decided to emphasize the saints, because what better examples than people who have already walked this journey before us?
Even though Mother Teresa was not a declared saint at that time, I referred back to her a lot. The kids had never heard of her and as a treat for how engaged they were, and all the questions they had not only about the faith, but about Mother Teresa, I decided to have a class where we watched her movie.
The kids were beyond thrilled to watch her movie and throughout the whole movie they were continually asking questions. “Why are there so many sick people on the streets?” “Is this a real movie or is this made up?” “Why did she change the color habit she wore?” We paused the movie multiple times so we could discuss and answer some of their questions. They were very excited after class that day (maybe it was the cookie I brought them… I had such a soft spot for these kids!), and I like to think they were inspired by Mother Teresa’s story.
We started the next class by giving updates about our lives: one boy had a brand new baby sister, another just got back from a vacation, and one girl was super excited to tell me that they were doing a wax museum at school and everyone had to pick their hero and be them for a couple hours. One boy chimed in that he was going to be Elvis and this girl stands up with the biggest smile as she told me who she picked– and yes, it was Mother Teresa!
Before the wax museum she practiced her speech in front of the whole class and she was so excited to tell me that she got to wear a habit her mom made that looks just like Mother Teresa’s.
Besides being the proudest teacher at this church, I learned a very important lesson. If I would not have shared my passion for the saints, particularly Mother Teresa, the kids would have never heard of her. So how is this different than sharing our faith to our non-Catholic friends and co-workers? If they see your passion, can it become their passion too?