My mother worked tirelessly with Mother Teresa in India. They were good friends and wrote to each other when my mother moved back to Surrey.
The Missionaries of Charity had a house in Southall where they ran a soup kitchen, and Mother Teresa came over to visit. This was when Mother Teresa went out and saw the poverty on the streets in London. And she was appalled, thinking here we are getting donations and trying to help the street people in Calcutta when there’s actually a problem in London.
She also opened up a home in Ireland and that was a breakthrough because in her time in Ireland she had Catholics and non-Catholics working together. She was certainly a ground-breaker. She was amazing in her achievement of seeing life and what we all needed.
So when she came to London she dispensed with all this fundraising and adoption. She said you look after your family number one, you look after your neighbour number two. And that’s it. That was her message for us over here who she thought, we don’t look after each other, we don’t stay together as families do we, like they do in India? That was what she was sad about. She said we in India may be poor, but we’re not poor in spirit. And she felt that we were poor in spirit over here. There, there were always the grandparents, or the aunties and uncles, someone to look after all the little children. Everybody worked together and looked after each other. Whereas here kids go into child-care; mummy goes to work; grandparents go into homes… that was not her way of living.
Mother Teresa’s work was so strong, and good, and needed that it carries on.