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Benedict XVI and Mother Teresa

· Message for the centenary of her birth ·

The Holy Father sent a personal Message to Sister Mary Prema Pierick, mc, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, on the 100th anniversary of Blessed Mother Teresa's birth, 26 August.

I send cordial greetings to you and to all the Missionaries of Charity as you begin the centenary celebrations of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa, Foundress of your Congregation and an exemplary model of Christian virtue. I am confident that this year will be for the Church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime, and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work of you, her spiritual children.

In your preparation for this year you strove to draw closer to the person of Jesus, whose thirst for souls is sated by your ministry to him in the poorest of the poor. Having responded with trust to the direct call of the Lord, Mother Teresa exemplified before the world the words of St John: “Beloved, if God so loves us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (cf. Jn 4:11-12).

May this love continue to inspire you as Missionaries of Charity, to give yourselves generously to Jesus, whom you see and serve in the poor, the sick, the lonely and the abandoned. I encourage you to draw constantly from the spirituality and example of Mother Teresa and, in her footsteps, to take up Christ's invitation: “Come, be my light”. Joining myself spiritually to the centenary celebrations, and with great affection in the Lord, I cordially impart to the Missionaries of Charity, and to all those whom you serve, my paternal Apostolic Blessing.

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