My devotion to Mother Teresa began as so many things in my Catholic life did, as a tiny little spark I can hardly find when I look back to find it. Ten years ago, when she died, I remember feeling a feeling of, well, nothing really. I felt more strongly about Princess Diana’s death (I never had a Mother Teresa paper doll, after all), and that’s not to say I felt all that strongly. Mother Teresa was, in my mind, a good person. And she died. End of story.

And then, somehow, after becoming Catholic and getting roped in – I mean, hearing the call – to teaching third grade CCD, I came across Mother Teresa. It was the weirdest thing. (And that is the other way so many things in my Catholic life begin, with that phrase “it was the weirdest thing.”) We were studying saints in an ongoing project that accompanied the lessons in the book, and there she was, as one of the extra things we could cover. We happened to talk about her on her feast day. We happened to have a homily a few weeks later, when our class was in charge of helping with Mass, with Mother Teresa as a main player. We happened to watch a video with the teens a few weeks after that that was about, yeah, Mother Teresa and her life. In the intervening weeks between each of these little happenings, I stumbled across a book by her and devoured it and felt the spark glowing red-hot, starting to ignite the dry brush all around it. Before I knew it (and before I could keep proper track of it), I had a full-fledged devotion to this little lady from Calcutta.

A few months ago, someone stumbled on my blog who happened to have been friends with Mother Teresa. In fact, Mother Teresa (who I just can’t call Blessed, or even Saint, because, well, she feels more motherly to me, and that is really saintly in the highest sense inside my mind) wrote the forward to the book this someone happened to send me. It seems my devotion is not a coincidence, though I have no idea why (and I’m OK with that; love is a curving path that leads us to adventurous places we couldn’t have found otherwise, and what better kind of love than the love of a saint?).