Meeting Mother Teresa
Dover Post 9/10/97





(Post Identifier) Nancy and Don Weaver of Smyrna resided for nearly ten years in South Asia, where he was News Bureau Chief for the Voice of America. During the 70s and 80s, the couple had opportunities to witness first-hand the humanitarian services of Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa Helps a Young Girl in Trouble
By Nancy Weaver

In 1985, I was involved in an effort to secure the release of a young American girl, who was arrested at New Delhi International Airport on a drug-smuggling charge. Someone in her mother's church in Seattle had contacted the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, asking if anything could be done to help the jailed girl.

The plea was relayed to the Rev. Mark Buntaine, a well-known Assembly of God missionary in Calcutta. He and Mother Teresa were friends and he inquired whether she had any contacts in New Delhi.

This dear lady was scheduled to fly to Paris the next day but she re-routed her flight to include a stop in New Delhi. I was asked to pick her up at the airport.

Mother Teresa arrived unannounced but soon word spread throughout the airport and a crowd gathered around her. In their custom, some Indian bowed to touch her feet as a mark of respect.

She was little and stooped and pushed a cart filled with bundles, wrapped in fabric and was obviously struggling.

Before I could get to her, others took over to assist her to our car. She peered up at me, smiled and said, "Sometimes it's nice to be Mother Teresa."

It was a very hot summer day in North India. We stopped at our house en route to the court where she was to make a plea for the release of the girl.

I asked her if she would like a cool drink and she replied, "No. We never eat or drink anything outside of our facilities because there are poor people who cannot even offer us a glass of water."

At the court, Mother Teresa asked the judge to release the girl into her custody but he refused. The young lady, who I will call Ruth, was pregnant and was ill and hospitalized at the time. Mother Teresa said she would like to see her so I drove her to the hospital. The staff, doctors and nurses, recognized her and while we waited to be escorted to Ruth's room, they asked if they could do anything for her.

Mother Teresa, who often spoke out against abortion as the greatest danger to world peace, responded vehemently, "yes. Definitely. You can stop killing babies. I will take them. Please, please stop!" The doctors seemed uncomfortable, but she was adamant.

We visited Ruth and Mother Teresa told her she could come to her orphanage in New Delhi to have the baby and her nuns would take care of her and the infant if she managed to get out of jail.

It had been a long, arduous day. By that time, it was close to the dinner hour and Mother Teresa asked me to drop her at the Missionaries of Charity orphanage in the inner city, which I did. She left later that evening for Paris.

At that time, and during my stints at her New Delhi orphanage, I was impressed by her stamina, her willingness to go the lengths she did for Ruth and her constant reference to Jesus. "Jesus is all," she would say. We talked for the better part of that day and it seemed Jesus was her every other word, praising Him constantly. It was a truly remarkable experience for me.

Incidentally, Ruth's bail bond was secured and she was released. She had her baby and hoped to flee India though Nepal and return home.

Writer Felt Power of Personality, Ministry
By Don Weaver

Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity were active in Bangladesh during the former Pakistani province's struggle for independence and that's where I first met the diminutive nun.

I was visiting Dhaka in late summer, during the fierce guerrilla struggle against Pakistani military forces.
I was aware that Mother Teresa's nursing nuns had been engaged in caring for some of the East Pakistani refugees, who fled from the province into Indian border regions to avoid persecution and bloodshed at the hands of military forces from West Pakistan.

I had no idea, however, that she was personally involved in Bangladesh until a Catholic priest cooked up a surprise. The good father had told me one evening to be ready for a special treat, so the next morning he picked me up at the Hotel Intercontinental and we sped off on his scooter for Old Dhaka.

The drove into the enclosure through a large gate, and entered one of the city's familiar stucco-style buildings. To my complete surprise and fascination, there was Mother Teresa, a revered figure throughout South Asia, where her humanitarian work had begun and prospered.

After pleasantries that included her customary "namaste" greeting with palms pressed together, she guided me through the complex as she related a shocking story.

As we strolled through the medium-sized ward, I could see a number of tiny newborn babies, some in incubators, struggling to breathe. As Mother Teresa explained, through European funding, an abortion clinic had been established in another section of Dhaka for Bangladeshi women, who had been raped an impregnated by members of the Pakistani military.

This resulted in great shame for these conservative Muslim girls and women, who in many cases would turn to the clinic to abort.

Sometimes the abortion decisions came late, at virtual full term, and if the resulting fetus was viable, somehow Mother Teresa would be contacted and an ambulance would be rushed to the clinic to try to rescue the baby.

At the time of my visit, the lives of about a dozen babies had been saved. Mother Teresa and her nuns were also busy in other duties at the Dhaka center, which was conducted along the lines of the "Nirmal Hriday" (Pure Heart) operation in Calcutta. Such operations supplied nutritious foods to lactating mothers and orphans and provided other services for the poor, sick and needy.

I recall this tiny nun, in her simple white, trimmed-in-blue habit, standing at the gate, seeing me off as I headed back to the hotel to write the story.

To may dismay, the U.S. Consul General cabled to Washington a hold on my dispatch, claiming it might result in a riotous mob attacking Mother Teresa and her operation.

To my mind though, the loss of the story was miniscule compared with the extraordinary privilege of meeting Mother Teresa and personally experiencing the power of her personality and ministry.