Being a BetterWorldian Through Small Acts of Kindness
Podcast #4 — Aired October 31, 2013

To be a BetterWorldian, practice small acts of kindness. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll focus on how listeners impact their own world with small acts of kindness and service, using Mother Teresa as an example. We speak with Donna-Marie O’Boyle, author of the book “Mother Teresa and Me.” O’Boyle discusses her ten year relationship with Mother Teresa and tells listeners the small things they can do to emulate this extraordinary person in their own lives. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
Author, Mother Teresa and Me

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is known to millions as the friendly face and soothing voice of Catholic motherhood. Her frequent appearances on radio and television, her many books, and her speaking engagements are the public face of a life devoted to seeking holiness in the context of a happy Catholic family. Donna-Marie’s decade-long friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta led to a long correspondence and meetings around the world. Following in the footsteps of Blessed Teresa, Donna-Marie became a lay Missionary of Charity and founded a branch of the lay Missionaries of Charity. Today, Donna-Marie is passionate about encouraging others to follow in the footsteps of her blessed friend, caring for the poorest of the poor.

Episode Transcript

MarySue Hansell
Joining us today is Donna-Marie Cooper OBoyle, author of the book Mother Teresa and Me. Shell discuss her decade long relationship with Mother Teresa and tell us the small things we all can do to emulate this extraordinary person in our own lives.

Raymond Hansell
Donna-Marie is known to millions around the world as the friendly face and soothing voice of Catholic Motherhood through her frequent appearances on radio and television, her many books, and her speaking engagements. Donna-Maries friendship with Mother Teresa led to a decade long correspondence and meetings around the world. Donna-Marie founded a branch of the lay Missionaries of Charity and is passionate about encouraging others to follow in the footsteps of Mother Teresa. Donna-Marie, its a great to have you on the show. Welcome aboard!

Donna-marie
Thank you very much. It's great to be here.

Raymond Hansell
Today we are going to be talking about your relationship with Mother Teresa and how it inspired you to do good in the world and also how our listeners can do the same. So Donna-Marie, tell us about the first time you met Mother Teresa? How did that come about?

Donna-marie
Well, my friend, Father Hardin, who I consider to be a living saint as well as Mother Teresa invited my family to Washington DC to meet with him because we hadn't met face-to-face yet and so we made the trip down. And while we were there he said the Missionary of Charity sisters have a convent in a different part of town, which was the poorer section because Mother Teresa always set up her places in the poor sections to be able to really reach the poorest of the poor. And so he encouraged us to see the sick and dying that were there that the sisters cared for and so we did. We brought the kids and we saw the people there and we realized how peaceful they were and knew in our hearts it was because the sisters were so filled with joy. They were just so filled with Christ's love in taking care of the poor and the sick and they invited us back the following day. They said you can come to our mass. We have two of them. We have one at seven and one at eleven, and by the way, Mother Teresa will be here. We don't know which mass she will be attending but you're welcome to come. So we were thrilled to hear that Mother Teresa -- I didn't even know that she was in the country at the time and here she was not too far away. And I didn't know if I would meet her or see her but I prayed and asked God for His Holy will and we went over to the convent the following day. We chose the early mass and that's where we met Mother Teresa. I recount in my book Mother Teresa and Me, Ten Years of Friendship, and I tried to express how I felt and what it was like to meet her and be with her and it was amazing. It was very beautiful and we felt so blessed that we did meet her that day.

Raymond Hansell
Well thank you for sharing that with us. And by the way, that first meeting, from what I read in your book led to a very long friendship. How did that come about?

Donna-marie
Yes it did. Well you know I thought that was just a blessing enough to be there and to meet with her and for her to spend her time with us after mass and giving us blessed miracles medals but I just felt so touched after meeting her. I wanted to thank her. I wanted to send her a thank you note but I said to myself, no, don't bother this woman who is so busy bringing peace between countries and taking care of the poor all over the world, but it kept nagging at me that I should do it. So I called the Mother Superior to see what she thought and she said yes Donna-Marie, you are to do it. You are to write to her and here's her address. And I said are you sure? And she said yes. So I took that as a prophetic answer and that I should go ahead with what I was desiring to do and wrote her a letter, sent it off to her, and within a few weeks, I received a letter from Calcutta because Mother Teresa had returned to Calcutta and she wrote back to me. And that was the first of 22 letters that she would send me over the years. And then in God's divine providence I was able to meet with her another dozen times, some privately and some at her profession ceremonies and at the convents, many places in the United States. So it was something that happened that I had no clue was about to unfold in my life, these further meetings with someone I considered to be a living saint.

Raymond Hansell
That's like many people do. When you first received that first letter, that must have been -- tell us about that when you got that first letter.

Donna-marie
Wow, well I just pulled it out of the mailbox, this little letter, and the return address was stamped in the corner; Missionaries of Charity, 54A Lower Circular Road, Calcutta India. That became very familiar to me in the years to come. When I would get a letter from her, sometimes I would put my hand over my heart, it was just like oh my goodness and my kids would look at me like what's wrong with mom but I was just so touched that she would take the time to communicate with me. She reached out to everyone within her reach; everyone God put in her midst to take care of in some way whether it be Princess Diana or the poor she picked up out of the gutters and pulled maggots out of or a suburban housewife like me. She took the time to see Jesus in each person and to serve Him in them.

Raymond Hansell
I thought what was interesting also in your book it became clear that Mother Teresa used a rather old-fashioned typewriter and you thought she probably may have even typed these letters herself. It was very touching. The type was a little bit askew. You could see that in the actual printed version of it in the book. Would you be willing to read a portion of a letter that Mother Teresa sent to you?

Donna-marie
Sure, and I did hear from the sisters that she did type them herself and usually in the wee hours of the morning or late into the night after her regular tasks were done so she would then take the time for her correspondence and I've preserved my letters in a notebook. I take them out every so often and I took them out just earlier today knowing that we'd be talking about Mother Teresa and the letters. This letter here says, dear Donna, I thank you for your beautiful letter. Thank you for all you are to Jesus through the lay Missionaries of Charity. I am sure that for you is the surest way of satiating the thirst of Jesus on the cross for love of one another in your own family. Fidelity to growing into a soul's prayer is the beginning of great holiness. If we remember -- and then she puts a quotation mark -- "What we do to Jesus, that we do to each other." We would be real contemplatives in the heart of the world. Let us learn to pray and work as Jesus did for 30 years in Nazareth. The life and work, the prayer and sacrifice at Nazareth are so much like what our life should be; that peace, joy and unity that join the holy family together in prayer and work is such a wonderful living example to us. They grew in holiness together. Let us learn from Mary to pray and ask her to pray that your home will be another Nazareth. God bless you, Mother Teresa.

Raymond Hansell
Wow, that's amazing. That is fantastic.

Donna-marie
Isn't it. I mean there's so much there you could meditate on that for at least a month just going through each line and just praying and letting it really penetrate your heart.

Raymond Hansell
What did getting that letter mean to you?

Donna-marie
Well, boy it means something different each time I read it even. Just on so many different levels. I think the first one just a combination of exhilaration and shock and excitement and thankfulness, gratefulness, like wow. This woman who is so holy and she took the time to say this to me so God must have a reason that He wants me to know this from this holy woman. This is amazing. This is such a blessing. But I was quiet about it for a number of years. I didn't think I should share it with the world. I just felt that God wanted me to hear what she had to tell me and have that beautiful friendship with her all that time. And then it was later on that I really felt strongly that our Lord wanted me to share it in my books, writings and talks. Share it with others because these were blessings that were meant to be shared so I took them to heart and I just got so much from each word and every word, every thought and every prayer that she put into telling me something really impacted my life.

Raymond Hansell
What a blessing to receive such a gift.

Donna-marie
Yes, I mean I still can't even believe it. It's like I know it but sometimes if I take the time to pause and ponder because my life is so busy I don't have a lot of time to pause about certain things that I would like to think about. I just want to keep up with God's work and keep going and doing what He wants me to do but when I do have a chance to even think wow, this really happened. Mother Teresa was in my life and is still very much a part of my life really.

Raymond Hansell
You feel that. Now you're taking that message to others as well. We need to take a break now. I'm sorry but we're going to just be a few minutes. We're going to be talking a lot more with Donna-Marie about her relationship with Mother Teresa when we come back. In the meantime you can learn more at BetterWorldians.com and follow our live tweets at Twitter.com/BetterWorldians. We'll be right back. >> The internets number one talk station. Number one talk station. VoiceAmerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then itll spread from then on. I should do more. I could do more. I spend so much time on Facebook. How much time do I spend on Facebook? Probably more than I should be spending. I would definitely give back if I could find the time. Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a better worldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you could make a difference every day. For more information, visit Facebook.com/ABetterWorld. >> Ask the experts. Call toll-free right now. 1-866-472-5787. Hello. And ask our all-star team to answer your questions. Thats 1-866-472-5787. Thank you for calling. VoiceAmerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians radio with a family team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. Thats 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to Radio@BetterWorldians.com. Now, back to BetterWorldians radio.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Donna-Marie.

Donna-marie
Hi MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi. We'd love to hear you talk about those acts of kindness and service that Mother Teresa was so well known for. Can you share just some of those with us?

Donna-marie
Sure, well the reason she did what she did was she firmly believed that Jesus lived within each person that she served and if she didn't believe that she wouldn't have been able to do the work. She followed the Gospel of Matthew, whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me. Just like that little line in the letter that I read that she sent me. She mentioned that too so she really believed she was serving Jesus. And because she wanted to satiate His thirst on the cross like she mentioned and because she wanted to serve Him and love like He loved, she allowed Him into her life. She allowed Him through prayer and through the sacraments and that's how she did what she did. And she would meet people where they were at so if it was somebody in a gutter or someone on their last breath dying their last days, she would just take them in and comfort them and love them because that's what they needed at that time, or someone who had a question or popes that she consulted with. Like I said, Princess Diana that she met and spent a little bit of time with so each person was important to her. Each person became Jesus to her and she helped the poor in a way that most people appreciated but there were a few, its hard to believe, that criticized Mother Teresa for the way she did her work because she didn't worry about analyzing systems or economic patterns or ideologies. She just recognized that every person had a conscious and was called by God to love one another so she was clear that she was called to serve the poor and so that's why it came natural for her. I mean it didn't come easy. She had to push herself and work through exhaustion and all kinds of things to do what she did but some people said well she should teach them how to fish. Give them a rod instead of giving them the fish and she would answer to them that their mission is to look at the problem more individually and not collectively. She said we care for a person and not a multitude. We seek the person with whom Jesus Christ identified himself when he said I was hungry. I was sick. And this was the approach that she took with everyone that she met so it was very simple in that each person she came in contact with she believed she was to serve in some way whether it be a smile, or a kind word, or a loving touch, or something more tangible like a meal or something like that. So she spent her life really giving to the poor, loving the poor, serving the poor because she knew that's what God wanted her to do and she taught us that Calcutta is all over the world for those who have eyes to see so we don't need to just run over to Calcutta to do the work. She wants us, she invites us, to look within our own homes and neighborhoods and communities to see who it is there that really is starving but not maybe for a piece of bread but starving for love.

MarySue Hansell
That's beautiful. She had such a beautiful blessed approach. Personally Donna-Marie, what particular acts of kindness did Mother Teresa show you that meant a lot to you?

Donna-marie
Well like we said earlier in that time of taking that time to write to me, to speak with me, to reach out to my children when she met us and to give us miraculous medals and to spend that time. That time really is etched on my heart so time is a gift that its hard to part with because we feel like we're so much out of time. We're rushing around. We're trying to meet deadlines and we have so much to do all the time that when we come upon someone and this happened to me one time, well many times, but one time I remember when my oldest son was a baby. By mistake I locked him in the car. It was frightening because I didn't know the locking mechanism of this car that I had borrowed that day and so anyway it ended up locking and I was frantically trying to figure out what to do and a businessman walked through the parking lot and I was so thankful to see him. I said oh please help me. My son is locked in the car. He said oh I have to go. I have to go and he looked at his watch and he just kept going.

MarySue Hansell
Really!

Donna-marie
Yep so anyway it was really tough but I figured it out and everything ended up well but this was just a little example of someone being in such a hurry that he couldn't help a young mother with a baby trapped in a car.

MarySue Hansell
That's shocking Donna-Marie.

Donna-marie
It's what we do. We get so busy. We're afraid to give away our time so I think that's an important gift that Mother Teresa gave away. All the love and care and everything else that she did really touched my heart too but you asked for examples of how she might have touched me with what she did. I think the time that she gave me and the wisdom and the love and the teachings that she gave me were really incredible.

MarySue Hansell
You founded a branch of lay Missionaries of Charity. Can you tell us a little about that and what inspired you to do that?

Donna-marie
I just felt so called to her charisma of the simplicity of just answering to our Lord, surrendering to our Lord and just wanting to take care of the poor, the poorest of the poor. The sanctification of the family is a big part of lay Missionaries of Charity and so its a lay branch of Mother Teresa's order. So I looked into it and studied it and prayed about it and wanted to do that. And so I opened with the help of the sisters and some lay people started a branch in my area. But it's all about the sanctification of your walk of life, just giving everything to our Lord in your walk of life as a lay person, as a mother, as a father, as a child to ask what God wants of your life and to strive to serve the poor and to follow the Gospel message in Matthew of whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me. Its whatever we do and whatever we don't do. Do we serve others by giving the hungry food and the naked clothes and those in prison, do we visit them? Do we do these things because we are going to be judged at the end of our lives not by what we have accomplished in our life but by how much we have loved. Jesus tells us that right there in the Bible. We shouldn't be surprised. And so we shouldn't just do it out of fear, our little acts of love, whatever it is out of fear of going to hell if we don't do it. It should be because we love our Lord and we love the blessings that He's given us and we want so much to spread that love to others.

MarySue Hansell
Is that a big organization, the Missionaries of Charity?

Donna-marie
Its the religious order that Mother Teresa founded. That's called the Missionaries of Charity. Yes, it is very big. It has spread all around the world. She started it just very simply by following our Lord, getting the permission from the church, and then crossing over that threshold into the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and she began there and then in time it just spread all around the world. Its sisters, brothers, priests, coworkers, and lay Missionaries of Charity.

MarySue Hansell
Mother Teresa wrote the forward for your book called Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be. Could you tell us about the book and what it meant to have Mother Teresa actually involved in your work?

Donna-marie
Sure. That book came about when I was on a complete bed rest for a very precarious high risk pregnancy. I had had three miscarriages prior to that and then I had a severe hemorrhage at 10 weeks pregnant and the doctor was sure I was going to lose the baby and so Mother Teresa sent me a blessed miraculous medal and she said ask our Lady to protect you and she will. So anyway, Mother Teresa was praying for me during that pregnancy and I was just trying to do everything I was supposed to do to preserve the life of the baby and to trust God whatever He had in mind. Well thankfully, that unborn baby is 22 years old today and thank God that all worked out. But during that pregnancy I became very inspired to write about a pregnancy and I realized wow, nine months is a nine month novena so I just wrote about that on just pieces of paper that I just hung onto and put in cardboard boxes and carried them around from place to place whenever I moved throughout the years. I was not really intending to publish it one day but then wondering if maybe if its God's will, I thought you never know, maybe it will be a book one day to help mothers to realize how much their pregnancy could be a very prayerful time. And so I sent my manuscript to Mother Teresa after I finished it and she had her spiritual director go over it and then she decided she would write the forward. So I was just thrilled and just felt very blessed that she wrote the forward for this beautiful book which I consider a beautiful book because it helps mom. Not that I wrote it but that it helps moms to turn their pregnancy by the grace of God into a spiritual retreat.

MarySue Hansell
That's just so wonderful. A wonderful piece of work.

Donna-marie
Thank you.

MarySue Hansell
Donna-Marie, you've done so much in your life. You founded the branch of the lay Missionaries of Charity that we just talked about. You've written numerous books as well as you're always on TV and radio sharing the words. Can you share with all the mothers out there how you can balance all this; career, writing with being a great mother. It just seems like such an impossible task to the everyday person.

Donna-marie
Well thank you for those compliments first of all. Second of all, I waited until my children were growing up, until they were much older before I got involved with actually doing the TV and radio and everything. Even the book writing I would just mostly wrote pro-life ah-bed pieces and different articles in-between if there was a little bit of time or when I was on that complete bed rest, God put me still. I had four children already running around in the home and if I wasn't on complete bed rest, I wouldn't have had time to sit down and write because I needed to take care of all the kids. So I did have to get help with the kids and I did have to stay put and that was the only way that I was able to write during that pregnancy, otherwise I would have been busy raising the family. So my point is that young mothers have a lot of children, little ones to take care of, don't worry that you're not doing the things that you think you're supposed to do to get the Word to the ends of the earth like we're supposed to, right. To get the message of God's good Word to the ends of the earth when it's really to the ends of your household. It seems like its only going that far but that's where God wants you to work, right in your household, right there raising those little saints to Heaven. That's where He's working through you in the household so don't lament. Don't worry that you're not getting much accomplished. You are doing amazing work in the raising of your children and that comes first as Mother Teresa said. Love begins at home so let's make sure we get our priorities straight. Take care of the ones that God gave to us to take care of and when you have an excess of time and energy, maybe your reach will broaden out to the neighborhood and the community. And when you're out and about that's when your reach is broadened too, just in everyday life. Going out to the post-office or going out to little league game or whatever it is. You are an example there too. But when the children are young, don't worry. You are doing what you're supposed to do in taking care of them and if God is calling you to write or to use the media to be on TV or the radio, He'll let you know and you'll find the right time. Just pray and God will lead you.

MarySue Hansell
Sounds like great advice. Beyond motherhood, what do you think Mother Teresa taught you about being a woman in the world, especially in today's world?

Donna-marie
Well that's a big question. I'll have to think for a minute on that one. There's probably so much that could be said about that. One of the things that I think is an important lesson from Mother Teresa, she was this little woman. She looked frail. She had a big hump on her back. The first thing I noticed when I met her was this hump on her back and I'd never seen that before in photographs or whenever I'd seen her on TV or anything so I was startled with that. I thought wow, look at this woman. She's little and she's frail and she has this big hump on her back. I attributed it immediately in my own mind to that must be from all the stooping she does to take care of the dying on the little mats in the home for the dying in Calcutta. She's constantly stooping to take care of the poor. But you see this woman who was so frail looking was really a powerhouse of faith, hope and love, and she was a woman; supposedly the weaker sex, right. But look what God did. God always raises the lowly. God raises the meek, the humble, the little ones to do His work many, many times. Not always. You'll see others as well but Mother Teresa was someone who you might look by appearances think she's not going to amount to much or what is she going to amount to just taking care of someone here and there and saying her prayers and whatever. But through her amazing work, miracles happened constantly, constantly because of God's grace and because of her "yes" to God. You see she not only said yes to Him once but twice. Once to become a nun and the second time was when she received what she called her call within a call to start the Missionaries of Charity to go out and search for the poor and take care of the poor so the poor all over the world. So her "yes" to God is such an example to us, to all women that we have that "yes," too. God is calling us all to a mission and we just need to pray and ask Him what it is. And there will be different seasons in our life. I had many, many years of the times in the home taking care of the children and not going out and about like I'm doing now and traveling all over to speak. I never imagined that earlier on. I just knew I needed to focus on the children. So let's look at Mother Teresa, this little woman who said "yes" to God and she impacted our whole world and changed the way we think about the poor, opened our eyes to see that the poor are not just people starving for a piece of bread but mostly in our country of the United States they're starving for love. And our little acts of kindness and love and the things that we can do for one another. Our lonely neighbor who is maybe hiding behind her cocktails because her own daughters don't go to visit her. And then we strike up a little friendship with her and then we realize how much she's starving for love and how that ends up converting her and she's an atheist. You know I'm giving an example of someone in my life. God uses us in so many ways and its really through His love. Love is what is going to work miracles.

MarySue Hansell
Yes, it sounds like love is the answer. Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely. Its such a treat for all of us to hear these stories. In many ways I think Mother Teresa represents the queen of kindness in this century. It's such a small figure of a woman and yet so powerful was her impact. So many, many, many small acts of kindness had such a huge impact in the world. So we're really grateful that you're joining us here today to tell us these stories. We need to take another short break. We'll be talking more with Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle about her book, Mother Teresa and Me when we come back. Also when we come back, you can ask Donna-Marie some questions yourself about Mother Teresa. You can do so by calling in at 1-866-472-5788. That's 1-866-472-5788 and you can also send us an email at Radio@BetterWorldians.com or you can tweet us a question at Twitter.com/BetterWorldians. We'll be right back. >> Stimulating talk gets those synapses in the brain inspired really fast. All the time. The number one internet talk station where your opinion counts, VoiceAmerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then itll spread from then on. I should do more. I could do more. I spend so much time on Facebook. How much time do I spend on Facebook? Probably more than I should be spending. I would definitely give back if I could find the time. Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a better worldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you could make a difference every day. For more information, visit Facebook.com/ABetterWorld. >> Ask the experts. Call toll-free right now. 1-866-472-5787. Hello. And ask our all-star team to answer your questions. Thats 1-866-472-5787. Thank you for calling. VoiceAmerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians radio with a family team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today please call us at 1-866-472-5788. Thats 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an email to Radio@BetterWorldians.com. Now, back to BetterWorldians radio.

Gregory Hansell
Hi Donna-Marie, this is Greg. How are you doing?

Donna-marie
Hi Greg. Great, thank you.

Gregory Hansell
I wanted to ask you, you wrote your book "Mother Teresa and Me" about your relationship with her. What made you decide to share that with the whole world?

Donna-marie
Well that's a big question too. I just felt very inspired to. I just felt that there was a need to. Like I said earlier, I kept these blessing quiet for many years, all the letters and all the time that I knew her. Some people knew my spiritual directors and some friends, but I didn't exactly broadcast it until later on when my first book was coming out actually in 2005. Word got out during interviews and things that I knew Mother Teresa and different things like that because she actually said she prayed that book would do much good and that mothers really needed help and encouragement and affirmation. Then things started kind of unfolding in a way that let me know that it was important to find the time to write about it. So I had a couple of books come out and then I decided to take the time to write about my relationship with Mother Teresa. It first of all was going to be mostly about her but as I wrote it I realized I had to put some of me into it to tell the story. It was hard for me at first because I didn't really want to draw attention to me. I wanted it to be about her and the publisher chose that title, "Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship. I wanted it to be a bit more humble and take the attention off of me but they said no, this is the way it should be. The world needs to hear it. Donna, tell the whole story. The world needs it they said, and so I did, or I tried.

Gregory Hansell
Well there's a great quote from that book actually where you quote Mother Teresa saying that, "Love is not words. Its action." I think that's really fitting for our show today as is the title actually Mother Teresa and Me because we're talking about some ways also how to emulate, how everyone can emulate Mother Teresa in their own lives. So that title becomes not just about you but about everyone reading the book is trying to use Mother Teresa as an example. My question is: How do you think we can all put love into action in our lives?

Donna-marie
Well, I think the most important part would be to pray first. We need to pray first and have that foundation of prayer in our lives before we can go out and do the work as Mother Teresa said to her sisters. I don't want to criticize social workers because they're very important but she was telling the sisters that they're sisters, not social workers. They needed to be formed in prayer so that they can go out with Jesus' love to take care of others. So for me, I couldn't answer that question without saying that I really think you have to be prayerful first to want what God wants. To want what He wants for the people that you're going to meet. All the people you will encounter even in the course of a day because He does the work. It's not us. We try. We want to be His instruments. We want to do what He wants us to do but we have to recognize that He's doing the work and we just allow ourselves to be the vessel for Him to work through us. So people say all the time when they're around holy people they feel such peace and such love. That's from God. So that's because the people have said their "yes" to God and said yes use me please. I want to do your will. I want to help these people. I want to love with your love. So I think that's important to allow God to do the work and then it will happen the way He wants it to because ours is just going to be an imperfect way. It's not going to have the impact or the power or the miraculous power that it would if God did it, if we allow Him to do it.

Gregory Hansell
It actually reminds me of something you read in the last segment. Something she said in her letter to you regarding fidelity to being -- could you repeat that?

Donna-marie
Sure. The second paragraph in that letter that I read she said, "Fidelity to growing into a soul of prayer is the beginning of great holiness if we remember what we do to Jesus that we do to each other. We would be real contemplatives in the heart of the world." And then it goes on about -- do you want me to stop there or keep going?

Gregory Hansell
That's great because it just struck me as an almost summation of everything you're telling us about how she viewed her ministry. What does that quote mean to you?

Donna-marie
Well she's telling me to be faithful to growing into a soul of prayer, to want that, to want to be holy so that we will remember that what we do to everyone, every person, our enemies, the people who give you the finger in traffic, the person who is cutting you off in the parking lot, the person who is antagonizing you at work for some reason or the toddler who is running circles around you, your husband or your wife who is grouchy that day, whoever it is and you're not exactly feeling like you want to smile at them but yes, you should rise to the occasion and prayer for that person and even smile and reach out in some way if possible because that's where God is going to work. Those are the opportunities for grace and that's whatever we do to the other, we're doing to Jesus. So if we're hurrying someone in some way, we're doing that to Jesus. So that's what she's saying in that sentence to be a soul of prayer and to pray for holiness because she also said holiness is not the luxury of a few but a simple duty for you and me. She was very much about becoming holy and teaching others that it's not just her that's called to be holy or the pope that's called to be holy or someone else. It's you. It's you! You're called to holiness and are you going to corporate with it or are you going to turn your back and not? So whatever we do to the least of our brothers, we do to Jesus.

Gregory Hansell
Well I think that's a perfect time actually to segue to some of the questions we received from our listeners. We actually received more than we ever have in previous shows and so hopefully we'll have some time to really dive deep into some of the things that they asked. We found out that we have a mutual friend in common, Father Zachary Nabbit (ph). here in Philadelphia, which is great. He was wondering if you could just say a bit about all the different forms of media you use to share the good news and what that means to you and how you do it.

Donna-marie
Sure. Well a couple of popes have told us to use that media for good. So many people are using it for bad things and God can use it through us for the good to share the good news. I use Facebook to evangelize and to get that good word out there. I use twitter and I have several blogs, my website. I use also the radio and the TV, the airwaves whenever God calls me to do that. I try my best to get encouraging words out there, affirming words and it just helps so much. People these days use social media. We have to warn them not to overuse it or let that take on a life of its own and then they're not taking care of the real relationships in their lives. But you can use it in moderation to spread the good news and that's what I try to do. I hope that's an answer to your question.

Gregory Hansell
No, no, that's great. Thank you and thank you for that question Father Nabbit. Another question that came in from Mark from Texas. He wants to know if you knew how and when did Mother Teresa receive God's call to do the work she was so famous for.

Donna-marie
Well that was on a train ride for her annual retreat and she was going to Darjeeling and she heard Him speak to her and tell her that He wanted her to go into areas that others have not gone yet and He detailed what He would have her do. And she had no doubt in her mind. I do speak about it in detail in my book, "Mother Teresa and Me. She had no doubt that our Lord was calling her and she said yes. She said yes, I will go. I will be your light. He asked her to be the light in the darkness and she said yes, I will be your light. And then she had to work hard. It took a couple of years to convince the church because the church has to be careful and discern everything and be careful that it is of God and so go through all the proper channels to get things going. So then the order was established a couple of years after she got that call within a call.

Gregory Hansell
That's an amazing story. Thank you so much Mark for your question. I also have a question from Nora from California. Nora asks, Mother Teresa is often quoted for doing the right thing regardless of what others think. Nora wanted to know did she have something or someone to help her with that. Did she simply pray for help? What's the story behind that?

Donna-marie
Well I just think she was just so connected, so united to Jesus. She was totally united to Jesus in her prayers and she gave every beat of her heart. I mean every breath. She wanted to do God's will and she just prayed. She was very close with the blessed mother. She constantly prayed the rosary and memorare for her help. So prayer, she was deeply united to God through prayer. She had the poor pray as well. She taught the poor to pray for God's intentions through the Missionaries of Charity so many times in her letters, every letter she sent to me she said at the end please pray for her and for the poor. In many of the letters she said and the poor are praying for you. Like this one right here I just opened up to it says, "I assure you of my prayers and those of our poor. And so she taught them to pray so she had like a whole army of prayers from the poor, the sick and the suffering. She taught the suffering people she encountered not to waste their suffering, to offer it to God. So I think there was a whole powerhouse of prayer going on there to answer your question. Hopefully this does. She was a prayerful woman, deeply prayerful and she also enlisted the help of the communion of saints, our church to pray for one another and to pray for God's holy will.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you for that. Thank you Nora for that question. Here's what is maybe my favorite question. Elisa wants to know what about Mother Teresa's sense of humor. Did she have one? What made her laugh?

Donna-marie
Yes, she did. She definitely had a sense of humor. A lot of times she looked very serious because she was dealing with serious issues and babies dying and people dying and being upset that this woman in a New York City apartment died and it wasn't until days later that people found her when the rats were already eating her body and she was sad. She cried and she was sad about that because where were her neighbors she wanted to know. I know you're asking me about the joy and I'm telling you about something sad but I'm getting to that. She really showed how she felt. She cried. She smiled. She laughed. She was a real person with her feet planted on the ground. Her head wasn't up in the clouds and not in touch with reality. She was totally in touch with reality and joy was such a part of her life. She said to the sisters if you don't have joy in your heart, you might as well just pack up and go home. So it sounds a little harsh but the lesson here is that you can't help others if you're going to be grumpy and complaining and half-hearted. Oh, yah, I'll help that person. God wants me to help them. What good is that going to do? So we need to change our attitudes and to let the joy in. Ask our Lord to give us joy even when things are tough. We can still be joyful deep down in our hearts. So yes, she laughed. Yes she was filled with joy and it radiated from her.

Gregory Hansell
I think that's actually great advice for everybody. Thank you Elisa for that question. Here's another one from Cathy in Pennsylvania. She said that she heard from a friend of hers that traveled with Mother Teresa that she kept up her extraordinary level of energy by taking these kind of short power naps. Cathy wondered were these really just naps or were they other forms of prayer and meditation?

Donna-marie
Well I don't know exactly but I can sort of imagine. Immediately as you were saying that Mother Teresa might close her eyes on a flight or something like that or on a bus and she has her rosary moving through her fingers the whole time so she's maybe -- and also she had a lot of trouble with her eyesight and had sore eyes a lot so she probably needed to close them when she wasn't attending to a person or a need at that moment. And she was so overworked. She worked into the night as we talked about earlier with writing the letters and keeping up with correspondence. So if she had that time to be in a vehicle or plane or something where she could finally shut her eyes, she was smart. She was very prudent. She'd take that time and give it to God, say her prayers and rest for a few minutes. I'm sure that helped her health, helped her to give her some strength to continue on in her amazing work.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you very much Cathy for that question. Kelly from Pennsylvania asks was Mother Teresa ever afraid of anything?

Donna-marie
Yes. Let me think of what she said. She said something like the only thing she feared was the love of money because and then she mentioned about the thirty pieces of silver. I think I'd have to look it up. I'd have to skim through my book. I think I even have it at one of the beginnings of one of my chapters, but I don't want to take up the time. But yes, she only just said that it was the only thing -- and it wasn't like a real fear, like she feared she was going to like succumb to it. It was just she was making a point of its the only thing really to be fearful of is to end up having that love of money which is a root of all evil. To get into that and then lose sight of what you're supposed to be focusing on; God's love and not something that's going to lead you to hell. I wish I could have said it better.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you for that question Kelly. Unfortunately that's all the time we have for questions today. I want to thank the listeners for sending them in and also let everyone listening know that we'll be sending the remaining questions we have and any others that come in via Facebook or twitter over to Donna-Marie to answer so please send in your questions and she'll be back to you shortly.

Raymond Hansell
Donna-Marie, thank you so much for joining us today. Your stories about Mother Teresa made her really come to life for all of us. She was such a genuine soul, such an authentic life and she so exemplified everything that we want in our lives to live. She really walked the walk as they say. The stories were just absolutely amazing so thank you so much and thank you.

Donna-marie
Oh you're very welcome. Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
We thank our listeners as well for joining in to hear these amazing stories. If you want to find out more about Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, you can go to Donna-MarieO'Boyle.com. Donna-Marie, we'd like to thank you again for joining us on BetterWorldians Radio today.

Donna-marie
Thank you so much and God bless you all in your beautiful ministry.

Raymond Hansell
Thank you.

MarySue Hansell
Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Thank you so much.

Donna-marie
You're welcome.

Raymond Hansell
For all of our listeners, please join us next week for our show "The Habits of Happiness with happiness expert Dr. Matthew Della Porta. As you know we have an excellent line-up of guests coming in the coming weeks and if you know an unsung BetterWorldian who you think would make a great guest on the show you can send us an email at Radio@BetterWorldians.com. Once again we'd like to thank everyone today for listening. You can join the BetterWorldian community at BetterWorldians.com. Until next time everybody be a BetterWorldian! Bye. >> Thank you again for helping make the world just a little bit better this week. Please join your hosts Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell next Thursday at 11:00a.m. Eastern time, 8:00a.m. Pacific on the Voice America Variety Channel. We hope weve inspired you to do one small thing to help make a big difference. Join us at BetterWorldians.com to tell us what youve done to change the world.