Longtime friend of Mother Teresa shares about her devotion to the Sacred of Jesus
Father Michael van der Peet, SCJ was born in the Netherlands in 1924. In 1953 he was ordained to the Priesthood in the congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ). From 1955 until 1970 he taught in the seminaries of his community in U.S.A. From 1970 until 1986 he was involved full time in retreat ministry.
Mother Teresa met
Fr. Michael van der Peet, in October 1975, while walking down the
street in Rome. He saw Mother Teresa waiting for a bus with another
sister. “My first impulse was to go to her, but I said to myself, ‘Leave
the woman alone. Everybody is always staring at her.’ I walked on, my
heart pounding, but suddenly I thought, ‘She’s a saint and I’m a sinner.
Let the sinner go to the saint and ask her to pray for me.’” So he
returned. After a short greeting, Mother Teresa asked for spiritual help, not only for her sisters but also for guidance of her soul.
In the 21 letters that he received from her, and in the many times that he met her, Father Michael Van der Peet never failed to be impressed with the woman the world knew as Mother Teresa.
Fr. van der Peet testified:
"Whenever I met Mother, all self-consciousness left me. I felt right away at ease: she radiated peace and joy, even when she shared with me the darkness in her spiritual life. I was often amazed that someone who lived so much face to face with suffering people and went through a dark night herself, still could smile and make you feel happy. ... She must have been blessed with the deepest awareness that each person was created in the image and likeness of God and was loved and treasured by Him so much that Jesus died for them.
I believe that I can say that I felt in God’s presence, in the presence of truth and love."
"I could not help but think: Here is a person God dreamed of in Paradise: truly a touch of God. Yet I have to say at the same time that she was one of the most down-to-earth persons I have ever met. "
"I felt enough at home with Mother Teresa as to ask her some personal questions like: 'Wherever you go, people follow you like a movie star. You have received all those prestigious awards. The Holy Father treasures you, You met with Indira Ghandi, Queen Elisabeth, President and Nancy Reagan. ... How do you handle that kind of admiration?' In our different conversations she had various answers to that. The most beautiful one I remember was: 'Father, Jesus has given me a very great grace and that is: the deepest conviction of my total nothingness. If He could find a poorer woman through whom to do his work, He would not choose me, but He would choose that woman.' Another answer was (and she often smiled when she said those things): 'I am too small to understand it all' or “Father, it goes in here (pointing to her ears) and it comes out there; it goes right through me.” Another reaction - different nature - Her reaction of to all the admiration of people: “It is true crucifixion.”
What was she like?
Fr.: Recalling a response he gave many years ago when a journalist asked him if he were overwhelmed by her holiness, van der Peet said, "No, not so much by her holiness, although I know she's a very holy person, and I felt in the presence of the Lord whenever I met her. But I was so impressed by her humanness. She is such a delightful human being.
" . . . Kids today would say she is so cool, so honest," he added. "I really believe our call to holiness is a call to be the most wholesome human being God had in mind when I was conceived in the womb of my mother, and (Mother Teresa) was the woman God dreamed of in paradise, so wholesome because her life was so centered in Christ."