I’m pleased to present a “guest blogger”, Robyn Greco. More than just a friend, Robyn is an inspiration to me and so many others. I know you’ll enjoy the powerful story of how she is offering up her suffering as a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Please keep her in your prayers.
The Goodness of God and the Blessing of the Missionaries of Charity
Most people are aware of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her work. If you are not, I would suggest visiting MotherTeresa.org to learn about her life – it’s truly extraordinary. I’ve had a deep love and devotion to Blessed Mother Teresa for many years and I am in love with the way that she loved others just as Jesus did and admire her deep affection for (and obedience to) the Catholic Church. Mother loved people of all faiths, all races, and all stations in life. Everyone to her was the same, just as Jesus loves us all the same. No one is better, no one is less. Because of her love for Jesus and His Church, she created The Missionaries of Charity. In short, after the enormous response to the work of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa created a group called The Sick and Suffering Co-Workers of the Missionaries of Charity. This branch of the order is for people who are not physically capable of becoming a Missionary of Charity due to illness, but still want to be part of the Work, as Mother Teresa always called it…God’s Work.
The responsibility and vow of a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity is to pray and offer one’s sickness and daily suffering to the Lord for the good of one specific Missionary of Charity anywhere in the world. Each Sick and Suffering Co-Worker is assigned a sister somewhere in the world and, in turn, that specific sister will pray daily for her Sick and Suffering Co-Worker. Mother Teresa always called her own personal Sick and Suffering Co-Worker, “her other self” because she believed that these people were just as important to the Work (and as much a part of the Missionaries of Charity) as are the professed sisters. She relied heavily on the prayers of her “other self”, as it allowed those too ill to become a professed Missionary of Charity the ability to share in the Work and as Mother would say, “Do something beautiful for God”
I have been ill with a disease called Lyme Disease for almost twenty years. I struggle daily with the inability to swallow most solid foods and experience pain (sometimes severe) in all parts of my body, as well as migraine headaches. I have prayed through the years for the Lord to heal me, but thus far a healing has not come. It took me quite some time, but in the last few years (through the mercy of our Lord), I have come to accept God’s Will for my life. I feel, through lots and lots of prayer, that God is asking me to be patient and to continue in my suffering. I know that will sound insane to some, but I believe and know that God uses all human suffering for good. I accept His Will and know that, although I may not know or understand how the Lord is using my suffering, someone is receiving grace because of it.
I have always wanted to be a Missionary of Charity. For many many years, I have followed, listened to, and learned about Blessed Mother Teresa, the Work, and The Missionaries of Charity. I have longed to be part of this wonderful work and to be able to participate in doing “something beautiful for God”, but how could that be? I am married and not of good health. I thought about donating money, but The Missionaries of Charity do not accept donations and I really do not have much to offer. After much prayer and no real answer I figured it was just impossible, so I put it in the back of my thoughts. To my surprise, about two weeks ago I found myself emailing back and forth with a sister located in India (the location of the mother house of the Missionaries of Charity) about Blessed Mother Teresa, her life, the Work and inquired about obtaining a relic. The conversation somehow turned to me and my illness. I am still not sure how this even happened. After that email I didn’t hear anything back from her.
Last week I received another email from this lovely sister and to my absolute surprise, Sister asked me if I would like to become a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity! My heart skipped a few beats and I felt like I had been reborn. In that very moment the sickness and pain I was feeling didn’t seem to matter…It was as if I was out of my own skin. I didn’t feel it! I believe that I experienced pure joy – a joy that can only come from the Lord Himself. For me, becoming a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker is the most important thing that has ever happened to me in my forty two years. There have been many good things that have happened in my years but nothing comes even close to the joy and peace I feel because of this most abundant, pure blessing that God has given to me.
God has given me tangible proof that my years of sufferings have not gone unnoticed by Him, that He has been with me all the time and will continue to be. He is allowing me to use my suffering for something I have longed to be part of, but had no way of making possible. In His mercy and love, the Father has granted me the privilege to share in the suffering of his Son, our Lord Jesus, on the Cross. By willingly uniting my suffering with Christ’s, I can STILL be happy and peaceful through my pain and sickness. I will still pray and ask for a healing, but my new vocation as a Sick and Suffering Co-Worker of the Missionaries of Charity sustains me. If a physical healing never comes, I am already healed in ways that the world will never understand.