Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a Catholic author and mother of five, was friends with Blessed Mother Teresa and Servant of God Father John Hardon, who taught her valuable lessons of faith.
Your new book, My Confirmation Book, has several quotes from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. How would you describe your friendship with her?
Knowing Mother Teresa was an awesome blessing for me. I strive to pass on all of the blessings I have received from knowing her through my writings, talks and show. When I met her, I had no doubt that Mother Teresa was a living saint, and I constantly thank God that he gave me the gift to know her.
Mother Teresa taught me volumes of wisdom through each of the 22 letters she sent me, through each time I visited her over the years, every time I caught a glimpse of her praying, and when I heard her speak boldly and tirelessly for the unborn, the elderly and the sanctity of human life.
Knowing that Mother Teresa gave her life so selflessly to Jesus for the poor and saw Jesus in each person she met, treating them as Jesus did, living the Gospel of Matthew (25:31-46) — "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do for me" — resounds in my soul. I remember vividly when I knelt before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in a Missionaries of Charity convent chapel, and Mother Teresa knelt down, too. Our silent prayers were offered to God together.
Mother Teresa fueled herself with a deep prayer life, daily Mass, the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration. And then she set out to serve the poor. She said she and the sisters nourished themselves with the broken body of Christ, so they could serve the broken bodies of the poor. I believe the Holy Spirit was powerfully working in Mother Teresa’s life and also that she was open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in her soul. Because she was, she responded to God’s call to her with a wholehearted "Yes" to serve the poorest of the poor all over the world.
You were also friends with Servant of God Father John Hardon. How did the Holy Spirit work in his life?
Father Hardon was a well-respected theologian who taught theology, authored many Catholic books and worked behind the scenes for the Church.
Like Mother Teresa, he was indeed open to the Holy Spirit working in his life, and because he was, he worked tirelessly for Holy Mother Church. He was an amazing example of holiness in action to all who knew him. He used to encourage people to work hard for the Lord. His catchphrase was: "There’s work to be done!" Whenever he said it, there was such enthusiasm in his voice and a twinkle in his eye, and you just knew that he was speaking to you.
Anna Abbott writes from Napa, California.