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.