Speaker says Mother Teresa experience made her a better person

Catrina Cieslik

Even through Mother Teresa did not have any pity for her disability, Candy Bhardwaj said she loved talking to her. She inspired her to be a better person because she made things simple and considered everyone equal, Bhardwaj said.

“You know you are carrying a cross of Jesus Christ. What are you doing complaining? You should be happy you are carrying this cross,” Mother Teresa told Bhardwaj when she complained about having Multiple Sclerosis.

Bhardwaj discussed her experiences serving as a volunteer in Calcutta with Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Charity to a group of 25 people last night in the Student Center. The talk was co-sponsored by the United Christian Ministries and the Catholic Student Association.

“It had always been my passionate dream to work with Mother Teresa from day one,” she said. “You don’t have to be anyone special to work with the Sisters of Charity.”

Bhardwaj and her friend Jesus Gonzalez-Aller were accepted to work as volunteers for Mother Teresa after sending a letter asking for her permission.

Bhardwaj volunteered in an orphanage and the home of the dying and destitute during her month stay in the Mother House, where the Sisters of Charity lived.

“We would have mass every day at 6 a.m. and that really took a toll on me,” she said. “I got to pray with Mother Teresa every morning, but I basically had to work with the Sisters of Charity every day.”

As a volunteer at the orphanage, Bhardwaj was responsible for making sure the children were fed and changed. On one side of the orphanage there were 300 healthy children waiting for adoption, while on the other side, there were 150 children that either had a disability or were malnourished.

“My sole purpose there was to take care of the kids,” Bhardwaj said. “There were always so many diapers to be changed, and one diaper was one too many.”

In the home of the dying and destitute, the men and women were suffering from different disabilities and illnesses.

She recalled walking in the home and being overwhelmed to see maggots being pulled out of a man’s leg and was just thankful that the Brothers of Charity were taking care of it, she said.

Bhardwaj said she considered her experience to be very spiritual and believes that getting a chance to work with missionaries of charity was well worth the money spent to fly to India.

Audience members said they were moved by Bhardwaj’s story.

“I was really inspired by her message of service because I think as Christians that’s how we can set the best example and show others we care,” said Allison Courtney, the president of the Christian Women’s Service Organization.

Contact religion reporter Catrina Cieslik at [email protected].