Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta chose the name of “Teresa” because she was inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux’s capability to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. Both of these women are beautiful examples about how we are used as instruments of God’s love.
Mother Teresa was born in Albania in 1910. She felt her calling to religious life at the age of 18. She joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin and spent her novitiate years teaching in India. It is there that she felt a deeper call to form her own religious order. She spent more than a year lobbying for permission to start her order.
She formed the Missionaries of Charity, they went into the slums of India and helped the poorest of poor. These sisters established hospices, orphanages, and homes for those with disabilities. Mother Teresa wanted to serve the unwanted, unnoticed, and unloved.
Mother Teresa and her fellow Sisters of Charity made major strides to help those in need. The order now has a presence in more than 100 countries. Mother Teresa even received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work. In 1997, at age 87, Mother Teresa entered into Heaven.
Mother Teresa was canonized on September 4, 2016.
Mother Teresa believed that we must love and care for everyone, especially those who are hardest to love. She tried to see the Lord’s face in everyone she served. She believed doing any action with love was fulfilling God’s will.
St. Therese of Lisieux lived a secluded life as a cloistered sister in France. She entered the Carmelite religious order at the age of 15 after begging the pope for permission.
St. Therese believed that her actions were let God’s love work through her, no matter how big or small. This philosophy is known as the Little Way and aided St. Therese in becoming a Doctor of the Church.
Therese’s greatest desire was to serve God as a missionary in what is now Vietnam. Only her poor health prevented her from fulfilling this dream. She may have lived an unremarkable life but she lived with missionary zeal by performing all actions, great or small, steeped in God’s love. St. Therese and her Little Way is what led her to be the co-patroness of the Missions.
These two women let God use them as an instruments of his love. They both have shared how He used them:
“I am a little pencil in the hand of God who is sending a love letter to the world.”
“I’m a little brush that Jesus has chosen in order to paint His own image in the souls entrusted to my care.” –St. Therese of Lisieux
Therese and Teresa also stated that if they did an action without love it did not mean a thing:
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant count as nothing.”
–St. Therese of Lisieux
Mother Teresa and St. Therese both were given the vocation to love with our God’s love:
“Our vocation is the love of Jesus.”
– Mother Teresa
“My vocation is love.”
–St. Therese of Lisieux
Both of these women are excellent examples of how we can be used to serve our Lord. Through them we can see how to practice St. Therese’s Little Way and be used to love even more than can be imagined.