St Teresa of Calcutta and Fr Doyle

Saint Teresa of Calcutta


Today is the feast of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, one of the most famous and popular Catholics of recent times. Saint Teresa was Albanian, but she lived in Dublin for a number of years while she was a Loreto sister. In fact, the house she lived in was in Rathfarnham, very close to the Jesuit house there where Fr Doyle had spent some time. The young St Teresa learned about Fr Doyle from the Jesuits and was obviously very impressed. She even decided to adopt some of Fr Doyle’s spiritual practices.

Here is a description from the book “Come be my Light” written by Fr Brian Kolodiejchuk MC, the postulator for her canonisation cause.

It was this mysterious feature of love that moved Mother Teresa to seal the total offering of herself by means of a vow and thus tangibly express her longing to be fully united with her Beloved…Thus for Mother Teresa the vow was the means of strengthening the bond with the One she loved and so experiencing the true freedom that only love can give.

Mother Teresa would have read about the practice of making private vows in the spiritual literature of her time.

Irish Jesuit Fr William Doyle, made numerous private vows, as he found this practice a help in keeping his resolutions. One such vow, which he made in 1911 and renewed from day to day until he could obtain permission from his confessor to make it permanently, was “I deliberately vow, and bind myself, under pain of mortal sin, to refuse Jesus no sacrifice, which I clearly see He is asking from me”.

Fr Kolodiejchuk then describes how Sister Benigna Consolata Ferrero (an Italian nun) and St Therese of Lisieux both adopted this same spiritual practice. He then concludes:

Reading about this promise of her patron saint (St Therese) as well as the private vows made by Fr Doyle and Sr Benigna Consolata no doubt inspired Mother Teresa and influenced her to do the same.

How remarkable – yet another saint who has been inspired by Fr Doyle’s example! St Teresa is added to the list of those whose holiness has been formally recognised by the Church and who were inspired by Fr Doyle: St Josemaria Escriva, St Alberto Hurtago and Blessed John Sullivan. 

2 thoughts on “St Teresa of Calcutta and Fr Doyle

  1. Just a slight correction: ‘St Alberto Hurtado SJ with a ‘d’, not a ‘g’. This Chilean saint also spent time in Rathfarnham Castle learning English ,in the early 1930s, I think. In one of his talks after returning home he spoke about the Venerable Matt Talbot. Three saints canonised in the 21st century lived in Dublin for some time: St Alberto Hurtado, St Teresa of Kolkata and St Paul VI who spent some time working in the nunciature, though not as nuncio.

    May I ask your readers to pray for a dear friend of mine in Canada, Cathy, who has very serious cancer that is spreading. Her husband Martin will be losing his job at the end of this month. Their only child, Connor, died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 19, a very fine young man of strong faith. I have encouraged the family to pray through the intercession of Father Willie. I have known Cathy, who was born in Dublin, since she was only four.

  2. Father Coyle,
    You can count on my most sincere prayers for your friend Cathy, and also I think I will pray for her dear husband Martin. I cannot imagine the anguish that he is experiencing. May the Lord, through the intercession of Father Doyle, grant Them the Peace and Love which only our dear Lord can give!

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