- Often I wonder what does really God get from me in this state — no faith, no love — not even in feelings. The other day I can't tell you how bad I felt. — There was a moment when I nearly refused to accept. — Deliberately I took the Rosary and very slowly and without even meditating or thinking – I said it slowly and calmly. The moment passed- but the darkness is so dark, and the pain is so painful. – But I accept whatever He gives and I give whatever He takes. People say they are drawn closer to God- seeing my strong faith. – is this not deceiving people? Every time I have wanted to tell the truth – “that I have no faith” – the words just do not come – my mouth remains closed. – And yet I still keep on smiling at God and all.
- Letter to Bishop Lawrence Trevor Picachy (September 1962), as quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2009) by Brian Kolodiejchuk, 2009, p. 238 ISBN 0307589234 ISBN 9780307589231
- The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
- Interview by Edward W. Desmond in TIME magazine (4 December 1989)
- Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.
- Teresa, Mother; Dorothy S. Hunt (1987). Love, a fruit always in season: Daily meditations from the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press. ISBN 9780898701678.
- Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me, because Jesus has very clearly stated, "Be ye holy as my father in heaven is holy." So let us pray for each other that we grow in love for each other, and through this love become holy as Jesus wants us to be for he died out of love for us.
One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, "You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you." And she joined her hands together and said, "Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me".
- Address to the National Prayer Breakfast (3 February 1994).
- Unsourced variant or paraphrase: I think it is very good when people suffer. To me, that is like the kiss of Jesus.
- But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? ... By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
- The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
- We are misunderstood, we are misrepresented, we are misreported. We are not nurses, we are not doctors, we are not teachers, we are not social workers. We are religious, we are religious, we are religious.
- As quoted in Angelo Devananda, Daily Prayers with Mother Teresa (Fount, 1987), p. 91
- From now on you must pray for your people and yourself three times a day.
- Remarks to Mengistu Haile Mariam during the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine, as quoted by Dawit Wolde Giorgis in Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia, (The Red Sea Press Inc. 1989), p. 213
- I don't know what to say since I don't know what is happening [in Albania]. I can say only one thing. My Albanian people are always in my heart. I pray very much to our Lord that His peace may come to our hearts, in our families and in all the world. I pray for Albania, that the Lord may help its leaders to see clearly because if they want to live in peace, they should love one another.
- As quoted in Louis Zanga "Mother Teresa's visit to Albania", Radio Free Europe Research, (23 August 1989)
- I've never seen the poor people being so familiar with their head of state as they were with her. It was a beautiful lesson for me.
- I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.
- I do not know anything about Charles Keating's work or his business or the matters you are dealing with. I only know he has been kind and generous to God's poor, and always ready to help whenever there was a need... Whenever someone asks me to speak to a judge, I always tell them to pray, to look into [their] heart, and to do what Jesus would do in that circumstance. And this is what I am asking of you, your Honor.
- Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
- As quoted in Worldwide Laws of Life : 200 Eternal Spiritual Principles (1998) by John Templeton, p. 448
- If I ever become a Saint — I surely be one of "darkness". I will continually be absent from Heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth.
- As quoted in Mother Teresa : Come Be My Light (2007) by Brian Kolodiejchuk
- Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love....The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.
- As quoted in Mother Teresa : Come Be My Light (2007) by Brian Kolodiejchuk
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- People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
- The non-religious original is known as The Paradoxical Commandments, published as such by Kent M. Keith, student activist, in 1968.
Quotes about Mother Teresa
- How can a girl like you become a nun? Do you realize that you are burying yourself?
- Lazar Bojaxhui, as quoted in Marlene T. Elias (1999), A Brief History Of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa and Me
- I could go on and on, filling page after page with dense examples of disasters and crises where Mother Teresa had had no involvement whatsoever. For me, a Calcuttan, born and bred, it does not come as surprise, as I know her order has no infrastructure - indeed it had never been her intention to create an infrastructure for such work, as she had frequently said, 'I'm not a social worker.' But what I find somewhat disturbing is that she remained inactive when children were hurt or killed, or were at the risk of being orphaned ... this did not sit comfortably with her 'Child First' philosophy. But then, for her the unborn child was far more important than the actual child. Having gone through hundreds of her speeches I have wondered, when compared to the unborn child if the actual child mattered to her at all.
- Aroup Chatterjee (1998), Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict
- She is truly a living saint. She serves as a source of inspiration for me to this day... She is unique in that all her requests for assistance are always approved. No one can say no to Mother Teresa.
- Dawit Wolde Giorgis Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia, (The Red Sea Press Inc. 1989), pp. 212
- MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?
- Mother Teresa was a true patriot. A great Albanian. She showed the world how to help the poor and devoted her life to the neediest without interfering in political issues. Just like any religious leader should do...
I don't believe in God. I'm a Marxist. I believe in man and in the people. But we liked Mother Teresa. You know, she felt at home here. She came with an open mind and praised our achievements.
- You urge Judge Ito to look into his heart - as he sentences Charles Keating - and do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you. Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience? I submit that Jesus would probably and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the 'indulgence' he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it!