“The Letters” compels us to learn more about life of Blessed Mother Teresa

by Jerry Circelli

Correspondent

12/10/2015

Juliet Stevenson stars as Mother Teresa in “The Letters.” The movie follows the life of Mother Teresa, who eventually heard what she termed “the call within the call” to serve the poorest of the poor. (Photo by Freda Eliot-Wilson)

Juliet Stevenson stars as Mother Teresa in “The Letters.” The movie follows the life of Mother Teresa, who eventually heard what she termed “the call within the call” to serve the poorest of the poor. (Photo by Freda Eliot-Wilson)

The best biographical movies, “biopics,” compel us to go out and discover more about the intriguing subjects of the films. A perfect and timely example is the new release, “The Letters,” which focuses on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and her tireless work with the Missionaries of Charity.

No two-hour movie could possibly come close to giving us even a synopsis of Mother Teresa’s evolving, challenging, complicated, and compassionate life.

 “The Letters,” however, does accomplish a lot within the two hours it has to bring us face-to-face with Mother Teresa at various times in her life. It’s long enough for Mother Teresa’s love and faith to shine through. And it’s certainly powerful enough to inspire us to do our own diligent research about one of the greatest humanitarians and devout followers of God’s call in modern times.

The title of the movie relates to Mother Teresa’s personal letters written over the span of 40 years to Father Celeste van Exem, her longtime friend and spiritual advisor. They provide insight into her spiritual journey and her life’s work to serve the poor in Calcutta, India.

In those letters, Mother Teresa reveals a spiritual isolation that some believe was described by St. John of the Cross as “The Dark Night of the Soul.” It has been explained as a road that leads to spiritual purification and a perfect union with God.

Moviegoers once again will find themselves compelled to delve deeper into this topic, which can ultimately strengthen their faith and introduce them to the lives of saints like St. John of the Cross.

The woman the world would soon know as Mother Teresa, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910, in Skopje, Yugoslavia.

She entered the Loreto Convent in Dublin, Ireland, as a postulant in 1928. A year later she was sent to India and joined the novitiate in Darjeeling. In 1931, she made her first profession of vows as Sister Teresa, after her patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux. She made her final profession of vows as a Loreto nun in 1937.

In 1946, Mother Teresa received what she termed “the call within the call,” to serve the sick and the poorest of the poor. It led to the formation of her Missionaries of Charity religious order in 1950.

She died at the Missionaries of Charity motherhouse in Calcutta in 1997 at the age of 87.

By the time of her death, Mother Teresa had seen the order she founded grow to 3, 914 members in 594 communities spread throughout 123 countries. Today, the order has grown to more than 4,000 members in 697 foundations in 131 countries.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Teresa was beatified as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in 2003.

In his homily at her beatification, Pope John Paul II said, “Her greatness lies in her ability to give without counting the cost, to give ‘until it hurts.’ Her life was a radical living and a bold proclamation of the Gospel.”

If you haven’t already researched and been inspired by Blessed Mother Teresa, see “The Letters” on the big screen while you still can, then launch off on your own spiritual journey learning more about this remarkable woman destined to be a saint.

About the movie:

Written and directed by William Riead, “The Letters” stars Juliet Stevenson as Mother Teresa, along with Max Van Sydow and Rutger Hauer. Executive producers are Corky Barton, Lourden Saks, Jonathan Sheinberg and Susan Ursitti Sheinberg. “The Letters” is a CinemaWest and Riead Production Corporation Production.

See the movie trailer at:

http://www.thelettersmovie.com/

The best biographical movies, “biopics,” compel us to go out and discover more about the intriguing subjects of the films. A perfect and timely example is the new release, “The Letters,” which focuses on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and her tireless work with the Missionaries of Charity.

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