Papal Message for Mother Teresa's 100th Birthday

Christ’s «Thirst for Souls Is Quenched by Your Ministry»

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2010 ( Here is a translation of the message Benedict XVI sent to the Missionaries of Charity on the occasion of today’s 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the order. The message was directed to the superior-general of the order, Sister Mary Prema.

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I send cordial greetings to you and to all the Missionaries of Charity at the start of the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa, founder of your order and exemplary model of Christian virtues. I trust that this year will be for the Church and for the world an occasion of fervent gratitude to God for the invaluable gift that Mother Teresa was in the course of her life and that she continues to be through the loving and tireless work that you, her spiritual daughters, carry out.

To prepare for this year, you have sought to come closer to the person of Jesus, whose thirst for souls is quenched by your ministry for him among the poorest of the poor. Having responded with trust to the direct call of the Lord, Mother Teresa exemplified excellently the words of St. John: «Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. … [I]f we love one another, God remains in us and his love is brought to perfection in us» (1 John 4:11-12).

May this love continue to inspire you, Missionaries of Charity, to give yourselves generously to Jesus, to all those you see and serve, that is, to the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned. I encourage you to draw constantly from the spirituality and the example of Mother Teresa and, following in her footsteps, to accept Christ’s invitation: «Come and be my light.» 

Participating spiritually in the celebrations for the centenary, with great affection in the Lord, I impart to the Missionaries of Charity and to all those you serve, my heartfelt paternal Apostolic Blessing.

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