Mother Teresa’s friendship with the people of Surrey started in 1954 when Ann Blaikie first became involved with her work in Calcutta. Other Surrey people – Margaret Mackenzie, Fey Bone, Pauline Smith, Pauline Perrett – joined her later. These women would later establish the Co-Workers in Surrey. From the 1960’s onward, communities of Co-Workers grew in Surrey, pooling their energy in prayer, educational and charitable work. Visiting in the 1970s, Mother Teresa influenced many of the lives of people from across the county.
Surrey and Calcutta seem worlds apart – and indeed there are many differences. Mother Teresa had much to say to the communities she visited as she contemplated the Church’s role in an affluent society. How
ever, in the end, everywhere her message was the same: ‘Christ’s compassion and love’…
You have asked how I would see the work of the Missionaries of Charity if I were a priest or sister in Surrey or Sussex. The mission of the Church in your diocese is much more challenging. Our people’s problems in India are relatively easy to solve. We see Jesus in each one of the poorest of the poor. We take the needy into our hospices, wash them, dress their wounds, give them a bowl of rice, a cuddle and tell them that they are wanted and that God loves them. Your people’s problems lie deep at the bottom of their hearts…they are problems to do with wanting more and more money, problems with regard to sexuality, marriage and family breakdown. These are big problems which will stay at the bottom of their hearts unless and until they see in you something of God. They will not see anything of God in you unless you are a man of compassion and prayer. Go away, be a man of prayer. Then your people’s problems will emerge and you will have a real mission in Surrey and Sussex.
Remembered in a conversation between Mother Teresa and Mgr Barry Wymes.
In September 2016 Blessed Mother Teresa will be canonized.
If you met Mother Teresa in Surrey, or if she had an influence on your life, we would love to hear from you. Please share your memory by email: