The Day Mother Teresa Put a Communist In His Place

Mother Teresa had gone to Nicaragua with some of her sisters in order to help those suffering from an earthquake in the capital, Managua. At the time, Nicaragua was run by the Sandinista Communist regime, headed by Daniel Ortega. According to Msgr. Esseff, Communists in general and Ortega and Castro in particular just loved Mother and would take every opportunity to be seen with her and have events with her.

At one rally, Ortega, who was supposed to introduce Mother Teresa to the expectant crowd, went on a long tirade about President Reagan and what a horrible person he was. He went on and on about communism and the government, etc. When he had finished, he invited Mother up to the microphone. There she was, that diminutive Albanian so full of life and love and she said, “President Reagan really needs prayers, doesn’t he.”

“Yes, he really does, Mother,” was the response from Ortega who thought then that he had scored big.

But then Mother said to him, “And so do you. I was talking to your wife, and you are a Catholic.”

Nervous now, Ortega affirmed that he was Catholic. You know those hairs that stand up at the back of your neck when you know you’re in trouble, that sinking feeling in the gut? I like to think that Ortega was experiencing that just then.

“You are a Catholic, but you don’t have your children baptized. I want to be their godmother. Your wife told me you haven’t had them baptized. Let’s go baptize them right now, because if you can’t run your family, you can’t run the country.”

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Editor’s note: Mother Teresa lived in that “sweet spot” where traditional Catholicism, with all its smells, bells, saints, statues, and sacraments, merged perfectly with the genuine call of Jesus Christ, for justice and peace.

The idea is to love God, first and foremost. Then, suitably fortified with God’s grace, out of love, you go out and change the world. That’s precisely what Mother Teresa did, and the whole world duly took note!

No Catholic social justice movement can actually hope to work, unless worship and sacraments take priority over works and charity. 

Only then will God guide us to all truth … and also see to it that we avoid the corruptions and excesses of misguided programs like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (coming soon to a collection plate near you.)