The Twinkle in Her Eye

Published: December 31, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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Continuing my conversation with Bradley James and his time spent with Mother Teresa.  Bradley talks about a side of Mother that most people never saw.

“People always ask me what she was like.

“We know her as this Nobel Laureate, but what she did as a woman, a Western, European woman in Calcutta, India by creating that religious order in that place and time, it goes down in Church history as one of the greatest miracles.  At every moment, she was willing to risk everything.

“So, people always ask, ‘What was she like?’  And I ask the people that knew her, because I want to know, too. And everybody’s answer is different.

“For me, it was her sense of humor.  The woman was so real and so human and so funny, so filled with joy.  It was a joy that I can only describe as a sense of humor, but it wasn’t silly.

“[Mother] saw the reality of suffering and yet, the deepest, most esoteric secret is humor.  It’s so healing and profound. The things that would come out her mouth would happen in the most unexpected ways.

“We were with her in San Francisco once, and there was an election going on.  There were signs all over the city for the two candidates who were running for mayor at the time.  One morning, both candidates ended up at the [Mother’s] house at the same time to meet her in the middle of this huge political battle.

“I was there with the Sisters and we had to take Mother out later, so this meeting was arranged for the morning.

“These two men came along with their families.  Whenever Mother met people, she always wanted to meet with the whole family so she could give them medals and rosaries, kiss them and bless them and spend time with them.  One of the candidates was [Joe Dokes].

“So, she meets with the families and now we’re in the car.  We’re driving through San Francisco and we came to a stop sign and there are signs for [Joe Dokes] everywhere.  There was one right by the stop sign in front of her.

“She turned to me and says, ‘Who is this [Joe Dokes]?’

“I laughed and said, ‘You just met him!’

And she said, ‘Well, I hope he wins.’

“She had just met him and the way she said it was so funny.  ‘Well, I hope he wins!’  You could never tell, because she never wanted to be political.  She just had this twinkle in her eye.


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