“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” –Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Last semester, Ave announced a new program combining study and service, the Mother Teresa Project. The Missionaries of Charity have sent their approval and prayers for the Project. Students taking part in The Mother Teresa Project will bring the same compassion, love, and fiery faith of Mother Teresa to the world through our volunteer work. This outreach will continue after we graduate to teach a new generation the importance and power of love and service. I’m super excited to see the program grow as the student body begins to take part and work to make a difference.
Following Mother Teresa’s beautiful example of self-giving love, one key part of the Project is mission work. We already have trips planned to send students to India, Haiti, and Mexico over the summer as well as over spring break. In addition to the missions abroad, we will be reaching out to those in need in our own country, in New York, Pennsylvania, and California. AMU student Katherine Towery spoke about her volunteer work with the Missionaries of Charity in New York. She had nothing but amazing things to say about her experience. One thing she said that really struck me was, “You will learn to truly live through the experience.” Through our mission work, we will not only learn to live in a new environment, with new people, and new challenges; but in giving of ourselves to those in need, we will learn how to live life.
Ave students will also have the option to become a Mother Teresa Scholar. This honor will be granted to those who complete the formation program—learning about the spirituality and life of Mother Teresa, volunteering locally, and making a mission trip to a site in the United States or abroad. Grace Cheffers, the director of Service Learning at Ave, explained that the goal of the Mother Teresa Project is to change our culture and to spread the love for service.
In addition to the mission work and scholar program, a museum honoring Blessed Mother Teresa will be constructed at Ave Maria University to further spread the mission of this amazing woman who set the world on fire. Students, town residents, and all visitors will be able to learn more about Blessed Mother Teresa and her inspiring life.
The Mother Teresa Project sets Ave apart as we embark on this journey to change the culture and spread the love for service. As Mother Teresa herself said, “Like Jesus we belong to the world living not for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength.”