Notebook

The wonder of a birth

A bullock-cart, bearing a desperately thin but heavily pregnant woman, her anxious husband and an enormous tin trunk, wound its way laboriously up the steep hillside.

The dark night of the soul

"Your Grace, ... Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show himself - for there is such a terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead.".... "Ask Our Lord to give me courage." So wrote Mother Teresa to Ferdinand Périer, Archbishop of Calcutta on 18th March 1953.

A troubadour in a small boat

He was a gambler who, in his youth, lost everything he had on racehorses, a gentle, prayer-filled man whom Mother Teresa described as "very, very holy". As a priest he was later instrumental in founding a community of Brothers devoted to the service of the poorest of the poor. He shared their lives in Saigon, Cambodia and many other places of violence and suffering, and wrote sublimely of the "beautiful" unsung people he met along the way, whom he believed to be the hope of the world.

Another Way

With the possibility of Mother Teresa’s canonisation later this year, journalists and commentators throughout the world are poised "objectively" to assess the rights and wrongs of her life, of the process of canonisation in the Roman Catholic Church, and of her being made officially a saint. I know because a number of them have made contact with me.

An ugly incident in a dreary police cell?

She was probably in her seventies, Afro-Caribbean, with watering eyes and a limp so pronounced that she could scarcely walk without her stick. She had been arrested for shoplifting, and I, as a Woman Police Constable, had been called to escort her to a cell and strip-search her. The rules on how the search should be conducted were very clear. Under no circumstances should I have let her keep her stick.

Seeing God in the darkness

An old man with flowing beard and hair, wearing the saffron robes of a sannyasi, sat cross-legged, silently gazing into the darkness of a cold mountain cave. His earnest disciple waited patiently beside him. Many hours passed, during which the younger man felt the chilled darkness seep into his being and a growing sorrow. His heart longed for the sun rising over the waters of the Ganges that habitually brought joy to his meditations.