ROME, OCT. 24, 2003 ( If anyone exemplified the "feminine genius" so praised by the Pope, it was Mother Teresa. So says Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement and a friend of the newly beatified nun.

After proclaiming Mother Teresa blessed on Sunday, John Paul II said in his homily that, in giving herself to God and to her neighbor, the religious met with "great fulfillment and lived the most noble qualities of her femininity," becoming a "sign of the love of God."

That same day, Lubich reminisced about Mother Teresa, saying that the nun had "something that Mary characteristically personified. She was not invested with a ministerial position. She was invested with love, with charity, the greatest gift, the greatest charism heaven created."

Lubich said she last met Mother Teresa in New York in May 1997, a few months before her death.

In a message on the Focolare Web site, Lubich says of the newly beatified: "For us she is a model. In fact, she is the admirable teacher of the art of loving."

Mother Teresa "truly loved everyone. She didn't ask people whether they were Catholic or Hindu or Muslim. They were people and in that humanity rested all their dignity," Lubich continues. The new blessed "took the initiative in loving. She went out to look for the poorest of the poor. She had, in fact, been sent by God for them."

"Perhaps more than anyone else," she adds, Mother Teresa "recognized the presence of Jesus in them. 'You did it to me,' was, in fact, her motto."

The Focolare founder says that the diminutive Albanian nun "undoubtedly loved her enemies. She never wasted time responding to the absurd accusations made against her. Instead she prayed for her enemies."

"After her death I learned even more about her and I eagerly read books about her," Lubich recalls. "I admired Mother Teresa especially for her determination. She had an ideal: the poorest of the poor. And she remained faithful to it. Her whole life was aimed in that direction. In this aspect too she is a source of inspiration to me to remain faithful to the ideal that God has entrusted to me."