After only a few hours of sleep and no coffee, most of the group made an impromptu visit to the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity and received a small taste of the streets of Kolkata on the brief walk. The hustle and bustle of Kolkata was left behind as we walked through the threshold of the Mother House where one could feel the holiness all around. I was taken aback as I remembered that I was literally walking in the footsteps of a saint which was made even more real as we all gathered around St. Teresa of Calcutta’s tomb to pray. Christ was clearly visible in all the sisters as they welcomed our group and graciously opened up their chapel for us to use. It was all so surreal, and as I sat in the same chapel where St. Theresa once sat, I could feel God’s affirming presence as he let me know how good it was that I was on this mission trip. I left holy hour feeling recharged and more at peace about what I was getting myself into. Along with the graces that accompanied prayer, a filling lunch at BBQ Nation really helped to raise everyone’s spirits.
Following lunch, we had the opportunity to learn more about the History of Kolkata and its roots in Hinduism while on a boat tour through the Ganga river. It was all extremely interesting, but, throughout the tour, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much of a blessing the Catholic faith is for me. I love how I am able to pray to and worship a loving, personable God, instead of the many indifferent Hindu gods. The more I learned about Hinduism, the more love I felt for my Catholic faith.
Our last adventure of the day was shopping for a change of clothes. I know it doesn’t sound very adventurous, but believe me, there is not a doubt in my mind that God’s guiding hand must have been in the midst of our experience so that we were in and out in under an hour. I’m not joking when I say that this place was like Walmart on a Sunday afternoon … times 10. Looking back on the day, it would have been really easy to look around at all the filth (with the smell of burning garbage in the air) and say “Nope. I’m done.” But what God wants for us is far greater than what we want for ourselves. I found that it is important, here and now, more than ever, to trust in God’s providence and remember that He is the one that called us here. He alone gives us the strength to deal with the overwhelming feeling that says, “I can’t do this.” With God, we can accomplish all that he asks of us. Experiencing this makes me want to say all the more “Praised be Jesus Christ.”
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