A Nun’s Goodwill


If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Mother Teresa


I heard about Sister Ludmila before I knew about Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Paul Scott’s novel, “The Jewel in the Crown” written in 1966 and set in 1942 Mayapore, a fictional city in an unnamed British province of India, was my introduction to Sister Ludmila.  To be clear, Sister Ludmila was not a nun in the official sense. Nevertheless, the title was appropriate and bestowed upon her by those whom she served: the sick and dying. I recall, as a teenager reading this book, doubting whether a European woman of mysterious origins would give up her home and travel to India to look after the poorest of the poor. It could only be a fictional character.

When I first read about Mother Teresa a few years later, I recalled Sister Ludmila and confirmed that Paul Scott did indeed model his fictional Sister Ludmila after the real and extraordinary woman, Mother Teresa.  I was taken aback!   Reality was more astonishing than fiction.

In 1946, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, received a call to serve the poorest of the poor.  She left her home country of Albania and embraced India as her home.  She said: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” For over 45 years, she practiced goodwill to all – to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying.  When she received the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, she refused the usual banquet ceremony and requested that funds of $192,000 be given to the poor in India. She was asked the question: “What can we do to promote world peace?”  Her answer was elegantly simple:  “Go home and love your family.”

As we enter a New Year, may we remember that goodwill to all begins in our homes.

20 thoughts on “A Nun’s Goodwill

  1. Goodness me, how very true this is, and such a simple thing to achieve, one might think. I did not know about the link with Paul Scott’s novel – it’s a very long time since I read it and this makes me want to dig it out again…

  2. Refraining from judgement is very hard to do. Sadly, I ,sometimes, think we are at our most judgemental where our own family is concerned. Thank you for promoting goodwill and love in our homes.

    • I agree – we can easily take each other for granted. When there is peace at home, we are able to apply what we learn to our workplaces and community efforts.

  3. Rebecca, you always bring to me what I need to hear. Firstly, the amazing women who served the world in their individual ways. What sterling examples of love in action!! Secondly, your quote about being judgemental, coupled with goodwill beginning in one’s own family. Only about one hour ago, I wrote in my morning pages that my heart is yearning to serve the world, and yet I am judging a family member!! Our love should be unconditional, not choosy. Your message has brought confirmation!! Thank you, my friend.

    • Thank you so much for your comments and visit, Lizzie! The topic of “goodwill to all” is the most difficult for me because it is an action rather than an intellectual dialogue. It is so easy to say “I love and care about you.” It is not easy to put that same feeling into practice, especially if there has been misunderstandings and betrayals. And those things are most keenly felt within a family structure. Mother Teresa had great insight!! Hugs & Blessings…

  4. Dear Rebecca – I want to wish you a 2013 filled with love and laughter. Thank you for spreading goodwill and peace around the WP universe. I only comment on your posts when I feel that I have something to contribute, but I enjoy each and every one.

    • Thank you!!! Your visits are much appreciated. I think that you would like the quote by Emma Goldman: “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

    • It was not an easy read because of the subject matter. It was called the Raj quartet. Paul Scott makes you think – and that is a good thing. Happy New Year – all the very best to you and yours! Hugs!

  5. I am reminded of the words of Jesus Christ to the young ruler. “Go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.” Matt. 19:21. I am reminded of St. Francis of Assisi .

    • I think that verse sums up the lives of both Mother Teresa and St. Francis of Assisi. They chose a different path and that made all of the difference in their lives and those to whom they ministered.

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