Cardinal Dolan, introducing a Manhattan screening of “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love,” to be released in theaters Oct. 3-4, described the film as a “first-rate documentary.”
“What an exciting evening—it’s opening night in New York City,” the cardinal said in remarks before the evening viewing Sept. 15 at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in lower Manhattan.
He acknowledged the previous day, Sept. 14, was the feast of the Triumph of the Most Holy Cross, “as we think about the suffering of Jesus” and Sept. 15 was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows “as we think of our Blessed Mother there at the foot of the cross.”
“We have a treat this evening; we kind of have a mini-retreat as we watch this first-rate documentary of a woman who shared in the cross of Christ, and a woman like Mary who was so close to the suffering Christ, in His people suffering today, St. Teresa of Calcutta,” the cardinal said.
The cardinal stated he had recently seen the film at its premiere in Rome. “It’s stunning,” he said. “Just to see her again in action reminds us of what a powerful icon she is. And don’t we need an icon of mercy and compassion and beauty and goodness today? Don’t we need it in this city? Don’t we need it in this country? Don’t we need it in our Church? Don’t we need it in a tortured world? And we got it.”
Acknowledging the 25 years that have passed since St. Teresa’s death Sept. 5, the cardinal said that “it’s not just about the past—it’s about the now,” because it shows how her “magnificent Missionaries of Charity” continue her apostolate.
He saluted the contingent from the order present in the audience. “And sisters, are we ever happy to see you here this evening, our beloved Missionaries of Charity.”
Produced by the Knights of Columbus, filmed on five continents and featuring unprecedented access to institutional archives and the apostolates of the Missionaries of Charity, “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love” chronicles the life of St. Teresa and the spiritual and physical impact she and the Missionaries of Charity had, and continue to have, on Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the world.
The documentary also addresses St. Teresa’s admitted periods of spiritual darkness while serving the poorest of the poor and her friendship with another saint, Pope John Paul II.
Patrick Kelly, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, joined the cardinal on the stage before the screening.
Kelly, in his remarks, shared a question he has been asked: “‘Why did the Knights of Columbus produce this film?’ The simple answer is, the Missionaries asked us to,” he said. “And to paraphrase Mother Teresa from her journal: ‘Wilt thou refuse?’’ Kelly added with a gentle laugh. “So no, we refuse nothing to the Missionaries when they ask us. It really is an honor.”
He cited various ways the Knights of Columbus have helped the Missionaries of Charity through the years, including the printing of the Missionaries of Charity prayer book and constitution. “And even when there’s a new MC house, the Knights will often provide a tabernacle for the house because Mother Teresa was very insistent: wherever there’s a house, Jesus will be in that house,” Kelly said.
Another reason the Knights produced the film is “to bring the witness of Mother Teresa to the next generation,” Kelly said.
After the screening, a brief panel discussion was moderated on the Loreto Theater stage by David DiCerto of the Sheen Center, who noted the venue was apropos since St. Teresa entered religious life as a Sister of Loreto.
Panelists included David Naglieri, director and producer of the film; Sister M. Clare, M.C., an assistant to the superior at the Missionaries of Charity convent on East 145th Street in the Bronx; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., who served as postulator of the cause of canonization for Mother Teresa and was one of the commentators in the film.
DiCerto asked what St. Teresa would say for the hidden saints in the audience and others who will see the film?
Sister Clare said, “At the end of the film, Mother mentioned love begins at home. So that’s the most important thing, that we begin with ourselves and to know that we are precious to God, and then, see what I can do in my own family first…
“More than thinking of going to Nairobi or Brazil, maybe I can make peace with someone in my own family, and then to see my neighbor next door or the person next to me in the subway who’s bothering me…
“What small thing can I do but really with love from my heart?”