Sister Conrad D’Souza,
As a Loreto nun, Blessed Mother Teresa was full of joy and cheerfulness, recalls one of the two nuns who lived with her before she started her Missionaries of Charity.
“We did not know that she was contemplating leaving the congregation to serve the poorest of the poor,” Sister Conrad D’Souza, a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, told ucanews.com on October 24.
Sister D’Souza, aged 96, lived with the “saint of the gutters” at St Mary’s in Entally, Kolkata, in the 1940s. She does not remember how many years she lived with Mother Teresa, whose birth centenary falls this year.
Mother Teresa was the principal of the school’s Bengali section, while Sister D’Souza managed its English section, both in the same campus.
When the Daughters of St Anne Sisters was formed, Mother Teresa was one of the two Loreto nuns chosen to stay with them to provide spiritual and moral support.
Mother Teresa joined the Loreto nuns for lunch and dinner, but she was often late for meals because of the work, Sister D’Souza recalled.
Sister D’Souza moved with the English medium school to Shimla in 1945, while Mother Teresa stayed on in the Entally school where she began teaching in 1931.
She became principal in 1944, two years before she undertook the train journey to Darjeeling to respond to her “call within a call.”
Sister D’Souza recalled that when Mother Teresa decided to leave the Loreto convent, the congregation supported her in the initial stages, providing her with board and lodging.
She does not agree with English writer and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge’s biography of Mother Teresa, Something Beautiful for God, that said the nun left the congregation with just five rupees. The biography failed to acknowledge that Mother Teresa had the support of the Loreto nuns in the initial stages, D’Souza said.
The other Loreto companion of Mother Teresa is Sister Stephanie Miketanach, 91, a Yugoslavian, who lives in Shimla, northern India.
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, who later came to be known as Mother Teresa, was born in the present day Macedonia, came to India in 1929 and left the Loreto congregation in 1946 to found the Missionaries of Charity Sisters in 1950 to serve the poorest of the poor.
Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 19 October, 2003.