CCL joins the faithful worldwide who are rejoicing at the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta! Born Agnes Bojaxhiu to an Albanian family in Macedonia, Mother Teresa was known the world over for her care of the very poor and dying in India. She established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, which now has more than 4,500 religious sisters around the world. By 1996 they were operating 517 missions in over 100 countries.
While Mother Teresa’s humanitarian work is known to many, we at CCL hold her especially dear for her staunch defense of life and the unborn and her support for natural family planning, which was rooted in its call to spouses to love fully. Her Sisters of Charity taught the Billings Ovulation Method to the poor in India.
St. Teresa of Calcutta did not mince words and it is important that we remember them. Here is what she boldly proclaimed about NFP when addressing the U.S. Congress at the 1994 National Day of Prayer breakfast:
I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception.
In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.
I also know that there are great problems in the world – that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning. We cannot solve all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love. And this is what happens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion.
The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and said: ‘You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other.’ And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.
Did you catch something important there? St. Teresa acknowledged that some spouses do not love each other enough to practice NFP! She understood that unselfish love is, indeed, quite difficult at times. But she said the worst thing to do would be to destroy love, which happens with contraception.
For every NFP couple who has ever struggled with its demands, be they only occasional or seemingly never-ending, we now have a saint in heaven who understands and who will tirelessly intercede for us if we only ask her to. Dear St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! Ask Jesus to help us learn how to love.
— Ann Gundlach
In honor of St. Teresa’s overall legacy but especially her promotion of NFP, CCL has been gifted with a quantity of prints of this beautiful watercolor to be used to help further our mission of building joyful marriages through teaching NFP, couple to couple. Please consider celebrating her sainthood with a gift to CCL.
Anyone giving a gift of $250 or more will receive one of these prints by the late mother of CCL teacher John DuMont. The caption reads “Peace begins with a smile.”
To give, simply visit our secure online form.