I have always admired the work of Mother Teresa and the missionaries of charity in reaching out to abandoned children and elderly and my wife and I visited one of their houses in Manila just before we got married; at that time just to drop off a few supplies of baby milk and medicines. It was almost 20 years later before we visited again but this time I came to appreciate it in an entirely different way.
As we entered I noticed an array of coffins lined-up against the wall outside the carpenters shed, and during the Mass there was an occupied one in the chapel too. But as the day unfolded and we met with many of the residents it became apparent that it was by no means a gloomy place.
We visited two teenage girls (Hazel and Barbie) both bedridden with badly deformed limbs and unable to speak; but when my wife started to sing to them their faces lit up with beautiful smiles. It was as if light beamed out of them. A pure light, emanating from pure souls as they delighted in the hymns being sung. It was like the two of them were lamps placed at the foot of God’s throne, burning brightly as they lay there interceding, through the sufferings of their short lives, for us sinners.
Next we met an old lady, Antonia; an 83 year old with a skeletal appearance, almost weightless. She was full of joy also and loved to talk and pray with us. Such a strong spirit and another beautiful (toothless) smile. Like all the residents she has nothing and no one in the world and spends her time in prayer and preparation to meet her God and be reunited with her husband and son who had gone on ahead of her.
Through the love of the missionary sisters the tragic circumstances of the lives of the residents meet the majesty of God and although time is short I believe that each one receives what they need before they die.
For visitors too the place is a great blessing. It gives you a more realistic perspective of your own troubles and a clearer understanding of what is really important in life.