Small voices share poignant messages
in diocesan oration contest
Front row (l to r): Rachel Doll, 2nd place (6th grade, St. Joseph School, Ellinwood); Shreya Kaul, 1st place (St. Dominic School, Garden City); Sarah Niederee, 3rd place (6th grade, Holy Family School, Great Bend). The remaining finalists include (l to r): Erin Flax (8th grade, Sacred Heart School, Ness City); Gentry Schneweis (8th grade, Sacred Heart School, Dodge City); and Nathan Koerperich (5th grade, St. Mary School, Garden City).
On April 25, several students from around the diocese competed in a district speech contest held at Holy Family Catholic School in Great Bend, and sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America, a national provider of fraternal financial services and programs.
Prior to this contest, the students at the seven diocesan schools had competed in and won their local school’s speech contest. They shared their presentations on this year’s topic, “A Person Who Has Touched Many Lives.”
by Shreya Kaul
6th Grade, St. Dominic School, Garden City
First Place, Diocesan Oration Contest
If you had a time machine, who would you go back in time to meet? Would you meet Elvis Presley, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson? What about George Washington? If I could time travel I would most definitely meet one of the people that taught our nation what generosity really means; I would meet the person that gave up everything just so she could help with the pain of others, the person that still continues to inspire the minds of the old and young today. This person is the one, and the only ... Mother Teresa.
So let me be your guide to a tiny time travel trip to the past to learn about this wonderful and inspiring woman.
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 with the name Agnese Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She was born into an extremely wealthy family with two children. Her father was a famous politician, which meant her family earned a ton of money.
When she was eight years old, her father died of a fatal case of food poisoning.
From the time her father died, Agnese started gaining a huge amount of interest in the life and service of missionaries. By the age of 12, she was sure that she would live a religious life. By the age of 18 she left home and traveled to the Sisters of Loreto who were a group of nuns that committed themselves to the service of others. Agnese never again saw her mother or her other siblings.
So, she went with the Sisters of Loreto to Darjeeling, India so she could begin preparing to take her vows as a nun.
After two years of training, she first took her religious vows on May 24, 1931 and changed her name to Teresa. Six years after she took her first vows as a nun, she took her solemn vows, while serving as a teacher in eastern Calcutta.
Mother Teresa continued teaching for eight years until she found out that she had tuberculosis. She was told to go back to Darjeeling to rest and recuperate.
While she was on the train to Darjeeling it was said that she received a call from God in which God ordered her to go back to Calcutta and work and live among the poor.
Mother Teresa started with a school in the slums to teach the children of the poor. She also learned basic medicine and went into the homes of the sick to treat sicknesses and diseases. In 1949, some of her former pupils joined her. They found men, women and children dying on the streets who were rejected by local hospitals. The group cared for helpless people otherwise condemned to die in the gutter. In 1950, the group was established by the Church as a Diocesan Congregation of the Calcutta Diocese. It was known as the Missionaries of Charity.
I recently got in contact with nuns that are part of the Missionaries of Charity, which as I have already mentioned, is a mission that Mother Teresa started herself. I asked them if Mother Teresa helped or inspired them in any way and I was surprised to find out that part of the reason that they became nuns was because of Mother Teresa herself. They also said Mother Teresa inspired them to work and help the poor around their neighborhood in New York They mentioned that being a nun was difficult because they have to live like they’re poor. But no matter how difficult being a nun was, they looked to Mother Teresa as help; they thought if Mother Teresa could do it, so can they.
I also found out how Mother Teresa inspired others in our world today, Like Sonia from Salinas, California, that says that Mother Teresa inspired her because all Mother Teresa did was give love in abundance. Patty from Gemansville, Pennsylvania says that Mother Teresa inspired her because of her love for Jesus and her desire to help the poor.
A lot of you might wonder if Mother Teresa could have an effect on you in any way, but there are so many ways she has affected me. She taught me how to step inside the hearts of others, and see what’s going on in their lives. She’s taught me to be grateful for what I have and not complain if I don’t get what I want because there are many other people in the world who don’t have what I have.... There are people who have to steal to live, there are people who don’t even know what French fries and burgers are .... Mother Teresa has taught me that greatness and generosity come in many forms such as big or small. She taught me that the small things that we do build up to make us great people.
I think God had a great purpose to put Mother Teresa on this earth. When Mother Teresa died she left the people of the 21st century with a lesson of what love really means. I think if we follow her lesson we too can touch lives of others in great ways.
Time has gone by so very fast. I’m sorry to say our little time travel trip has ended and I hope that you have all learned a lot about Mother Teresa.