National News

Mother Teresa urged NY nun to 'find your own Calcutta'

Posted September 2, 2016 7:16 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2016 7:34 p.m. EDT

— Sister Mary Johnice wept Friday as she saw an image of Mother Teresa with a halo outside Saint Peter's Basilica, where a canonization Mass will be held Sunday to bestow sainthood on the nun who spent her life ministering to the poorest of the poor in India.

"I said, 'Thank you God for the experience' and that I had the courage to follow her and her example," Sister Mary said.

About 30 years ago, as she was nearing the end of her seminary training, Sister Mary said she felt the call to serve the destitute and dying of India, much like Mother Teresa. So, she traveled to Calcutta, where Mother Teresa changed her life.

"She said to me, 'No, I want you to go back to your neighborhood, find the poor, find your own Calcutta,'" Sister Mary recalls. "I said, 'Mother, how do you do that?' She said, 'You look at the people, look into their eyes and find Jesus. Those will be the poor.'"

Sister Mary did find her own Calcutta on the streets of East Buffalo, N.Y., where she founded the Response to Love Center to feed and care for the poor.

She traveled to Rome this week to thank Mother Teresa for her guidance, showing her and others that most of the world lives in need and that people should love and serve the needy with abandon.

"(I'm here) for the inspiration she was to my life and to just say thank you for opening the door because I was fearful. I didn't know what it was to be poor," she said. "People need to see that there are saints among us – and she was a saint among us."