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The Formation Of The Co-Workers Of The Missionaries Of Christ’s Charity

Over the years, men and women all over the world have felt inspired to join Mother Teresa and her sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in their amazing works of charity among the poorest of the poor.

The Formation Of The Co-Workers Of The Missionaries Of Christ’s Charity



The Formation Of The Co-Workers

Of The Missionaries Of Christ’s Charity




            Over the years, men and women all over the world have felt inspired to join Mother Teresa and her sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in their amazing works of charity among the poorest of the poor. On a smaller scale, the works of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity among the poorest of the poor in Saigon, Vietnam have yielded the same inspiration among the laity. Many people have voluntarily offered wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor while remaining faithful to their vocation in life. The cooperation of the co-workers enables the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity to flourish in their works of charity among the poorest of the poor. This short chapter will expound on the forming of the network of co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity to support the sisters through our talent with prayer, our treasure with financial support, and our time by visiting the missions.






Many people wish they could have met Mother Teresa but Mother Teresa would be the first to say that meeting Jesus is an even greater privilege. This explains why she spent every waking moments in Christ’s presence whether in the Eucharist, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or minister to the poor. Following the example of Mother Teresa whose life and work depended totally on the power of prayer, the co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity’s primary focus is one of prayer. Le Joly illustrates Mother Teresa’s sentiment and feeling about those who pray for her, “That they prayed for her work delighted Mother’s heart.”[1] Just as Mother Teresa began her day with the Eucharist where Christ gave her the strength, courage, joy and love to touch Him in the poor, the co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity must have a personal devotion to the daily Eucharist so that Christ might be visibly seen in every person especially in the poorest of the poor. In 1973, Mother Teresa began having a daily Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, she testified, “From the time we started having Adoration every day adoring the Blessed Sacrament everyday our love for Jesus has become more intimate, our love for each other more understanding, our love for the poor more compassionate.”[2] The members of the confraternity of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity must spend quiet time in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is here that a fractured human family hopes to be made whole again. Daily personal prayer is also a wonderful way to maintain full communion with God and spiritually united to the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity and the people they serve.   





            Besides supporting the sisters in spirit through prayer, the members of the co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity if possible should give from this blessed treasure to ensure the success of the works of charity among the poorest of the poor. We cannot help but wonder where Mother Teresa got her funds in order to feed and care for the hundreds and thousands poorest of the poor. Since the Missionaries of Charity offer free service to the poorest of the poor and accept no payment from the government, she had to receive financial help from somewhere. “Increasingly Mother Teresa stressed that fund-raising for her work was contrary to her wishes, and she declined the offers of regular income that were beginning to arise: ‘I don’t want the work to become a business but to remain a work of love. I want you to have that complete confidence that God won’t let us down. Take him at his word and seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added on. Joy, peace and unity are more important than money.’”[3] Money is not important to Mother Teresa but the giving of oneself is what really impressed her. Mother Teresa recounted, “In Calcutta, a beggar came to me and said, ‘Mother Teresa, everybody is giving you something. I also want to give you something. I have just this ten-paise coin, will you accept it?’ Mother was in a dilemma. She said, ‘I knew if I accepted the money, he would go hungry and if I did not he would be hurt, so I put out my hand and took his gift.’ For Mother Teresa the beggar’s mite was greater than the ‘Oslo gift’ – the Nobel Prize – because she said, ‘He gave all that he had,’ and she saw, ‘the joy of giving in his face.’”[4] The Missionaries of Christ’s Charity do not have fundraisers except for donations from generous people. They simply trust in God’s providence that He will provide for the works He wants to be done. The Missionaries of Christ’s Charity in Saigon, Vietnam is not as well known as Mother Teresa; thus, they have to work for what they need by teaching poor children in Montessori. With this measly paid, they not only have to sustain their lives but the lives of countless poorest of the poor as well. A little gift of oneself can go a long way since $1 in U.S. equals 15,000 Vietnamese yen which is the normal daily wage for an unskilled worker. With the necessary aids and assistance from the co-workers, the sisters of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity can dedicate their works among the poorest of the poor instead of having to make a living to feed themselves and others.   





            For Mother Teresa, money is not enough for she can always get money. It is time that she wanted, “The poor need our hands to serve them; they need our hearts to love them.”[5] She wanted us to climb down from our comfort and luxury, to make little sacrifices through fasting and abstaining and to become detached from our possessions and do without the comforts of life. Her demand seems harsh at first and causes some people to say that Mother Teresa perpetuated and fed the cycle of poverty. They claimed that her work is only a bandage, not a cure. But those who take Mother Teresa’s demand to heart find wisdom hidden within. “One day an Australian man came and made a substantial donation. But as he did this he said, ‘This is something external. Now I want to give something of myself.’ He now comes regularly to the house of the dying to shave the sick men and to converse with them. This man gives not only his money but also his time. He could have spent it on himself, but what he wants is to give of himself.”[6] What Mother Teresa desired was the presence of the donors. So they could touch those whom they gave to, smile at them and pay attention to them. The co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity should seriously consider making frequent visits to the supported missions to encourage not only the poor and needy but also the missionaries who are presently labored in the Missionaries fields.





            Drawn to the loving works of charity among the poorest of the poor done by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity in Vietnam, many good-hearted people would like to join in this works of mercy. At the same time, they want to remain faithful in their vocations which they are presently living. The forming of the co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity is the ideal solution to those who have the desire to help in the Missionaries fields while wanting to remain faithful to their vocations. The Church’s teaching about tithing on time, talent and treasure can be applied to the co-workers. They can use their talent in prayer such as daily mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and daily devotion to pray for the success of the mission. They can offer sacrifice from their treasure to support the missionaries and the poor and needy alike. Finally, they can give time in the gift of self to make frequent visits to the Missionaries fields where they can meet and share their life with the people in the missions. These types of participation by the co-workers are always encouraged and welcomed by Missionaries of Christ’s Charity.









In obedience to the Lord’s command, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it,”[7] human beings who were created in God’s image have steadily increased in population and the people who inhabit the earth have exerted their dominion and authority over the earth and all that is in it. Although the world’s population is in the billions and continues to climb, the earth is more than capable of producing enough food and resources to sustain its inhabitants. It is the inability of the leaders to disperse the world’s resources that leads to many poor people being malnourished especially among the poor in the developing countries. This is most unfortunate. We can look at the plight of the hungry and suffering poor as a brutal curse or we can look at it as a blessing in disguise. Indeed, we will always have the poor with us as Jesus prophesied, “The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me.”[8] We cannot help but feel a sense of helplessness in the midst of so many tragedies and afflictions suffered by the poor. There might never be enough money to relieve and ease the plight of the poor in the world but it does not stop good and generous people from trying to help and assist them. There are many secular charitable organizations formed for the sole purpose of easing the poor’s burden. But these charitable organizations have high overhead; thus, when it is all said and done, very little of the necessary funds reach the poor. Giving in any form is precious and praiseworthy but it might not be sufficient if it focuses only to the physical aspect of the person while neglecting the soul for a human person is created with both body and soul.

Mother Teresa whose life was deeply rooted in prayer had a clear revelation when she read the first chapter of St. John, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”[9] From this verse, Mother Teresa felt the one and only way of ministering to the poorest of the poor was to become one like them in order to minister both to their bodies and souls. Her method proves to be more effective and preferable. Being a spiritual person whose works depended solely on prayer, Mother Teresa put her prayer into action among the poorest of the poor first in Calcutta and then to the whole world including Vietnam. Even though her stay in Vietnam was brief due to the government’s refusal to grant her a visa but her numerous visits planted seeds that eventually took roots among the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity in Saigon, Vietnam. With the blessing of Mother Teresa and the late Archbishop of Saigon Paul Binh, the sisters of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity bravely and courageously went about serving the poorest of the poor in Saigon in the persons of the pregnant teenagers, orphans, HIV/AIDS victims and abandoned elderly. Through helping and serving the poorest of the poor, the sisters experienced many blessed increases in the numbers of religious vocations from the original 20 to 134 within the span of 10 years and from a couple of missions to 20 missions within the same time span. The most amazing result is the lives changed and transformed among the poorest of the poor where once they were stripped of everything including their human dignity. Now, they are confident people and their dignity is fully restored. Once they felt as burdens to society and were treated as so, now they are proud contributing members of society through their vocations as engineers and candidates to the religious life and priesthood.

            The wonderful work of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity is something that most people with loving hearts would like to participate in but are unable to do so due to their own vocations in life. Granted all of us have our own vocations to live and be faithful to but love should be our primary vocation for we are created by God out of love. As Jesus reminds his apostles, their love for each other is the sure sign people will know that they are His disciples. We can share our love with the sisters in the mission fields through the formation of the co-workers of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity. As members of the co-workers of the missionaries, we can remain and live out our present vocations; at the same time we can offer our talent by praying, treasure by sharing and time by visiting to ensure the success of the missions and show our solidarity with the poorest of the poor.

Recalling the story of the last judgment when Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least of my brothers of mine, you did it for me.”[10] Jesus was referring to the blessed for giving food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, shelter for the homeless, visitation to the imprisoned. Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity take to heart Jesus’ command to love and live it out through their works. Mother Teresa further added to the story of the last judgment, “God will not ask us how many books we have read; how many miracles we have worked; but He will ask us if we have done our best, for the love of Him.”[11]After a life of dedicated service to the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa departed from this life and was welcomed into the loving embrace of Jesus. On October 23, 2003, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta at St. Peter’s square in Rome amidst hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.  May we live our lives in loving service to the poor so that we too may hear the sweet words of Jesus saying to us, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcome me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”[12] Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to serve you in the persons of the poorest of the poor.

Appendix I

Documents from Mother Teresa to the Vietnamese Sisters of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity


Prayer to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, longing to love Jesus as He had never been loved before, you gave yourself entirely to Him, refusing Him nothing. In union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you accepted His call to satiate His infinite thirst for love and souls and become a carrier of His love to the poorest of the poor. With loving trust and total surrender you fulfilled his will, witnessing to the joy of belonging totally to Him. You became so intimately united to Jesus your crucified Spouse that He deigned to share with you the agony of His Heart as He hung upon the Cross.

Blessed Teresa, you promised to continuously bring the light of love to those on earth; pray for us that we also may long to satiate the burning thirst of Jesus by loving Him ardently, sharing in His sufferings joyfully, and serving Him wholeheartedly in our brothers and sisters, especially those most unloved and unwanted. Amen.


 Appendix II 

The following is a list of names, year of birth and status of the Missionaries of Christ’s Charity:


         Names of Sisters                                      Yr. of birth                    Status


1. Mary Frances Ha Thi Thanh Tinh                1952                Superior General

2. Mary Edward Doan Thi Bich Hao                 1949            Vice Superior General

3. Mary Martin Han Le Thuy                              1964                        Advisor

4. Mary Martin Nguyen Thi Kim Hoa              1956                        Advisor

5. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Minh Trung              1964                        Advisor

6. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Sang                      1950                   Administrator

7. Mary Catherine Dao Thi Nha                         1975                       Secretary

8. Mary Albert Nguyen Thi Sau                          1947                  Perpetual vow

9. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai            1957                  Perpetual vow

10. Mary Lucy Nguyen Thi Bich Huong           1955                  Perpetual vow

11. Mary Ann Dang Thi Thong                           1957                  Perpetual vow

12. Mary Ann Truong Thi Bich Hiep                1976                  Perpetual vow

13. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Thu Quyen              1970                  Perpetual vow

14. Mary Agatha Trinh Thi Anh Hien              1969                  Perpetual vow

15. Mary Dominic Le Thi Diem Le                    1976                  Perpetual vow

16. Mary Magdalene Nguyen Thi Dao               1966                  Perpetual vow

17. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Kim Anh            1964                  Perpetual vow

18. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Ngoc Sa             1968                  Perpetual vow

19. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Thanh Mung      1972                  Perpetual vow

20. 2Mary Martha Ho Ha Bich Ngoc                1975                  Perpetual vow

21. Mary Ann Phan Thi Hong Nhung               1971                  Perpetual vow

22. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Anh Vy              1972                  Perpetual vow

23. Mary Joseph Dao Thi Tuyet Suong               1973                  Perpetual vow

24. Mary Martha Tran Thi Thanh Thuy            1968                  Perpetual vow

25. Mary Cecilia Le Thi Ly                                  1969                  Perpetual vow

26. Mary Martin Bui Thi Hanh                           1960                  Perpetual vow

27. Mary Lucy Nguyen Thi Kim Lien               1963                  Perpetual vow

28. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Thao                   1975                  Perpetual vow

29. Mary Teresa Dang Thi Phuc                         1971                  Perpetual vow

30. Mary Paul Nguyen Thi Van                         1971                  Perpetual vow

31. Mary Teresa Do  Thi Nguyet                       1957                  Perpetual vow

32. Mary Michael Nguyen Thi Hue                   1957                  Perpetual vow

33. Mary Rose Bui Thi Nhan                              1965                  Perpetual vow

34. Mary Augustine Le Thi Thuy                        1976                  Perpetual vow

35. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Nien                       1975                  Perpetual vow

36. Mary Raphael Truong Thi Mai Huong        1978                  Perpetual vow

37. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Hoa                     1974                 Temporary vow

38. Mary Savior Tran Thi Ngoc Bich                 1973                Temporary vow

39. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Xuan Han               1979                 Temporary vow

40. Mary Monica Le Thi Luat                             1974                 Temporary vow

41. Mary Ann Tran Thi Khai                              1975                 Temporary vow

42. Mary Martha Bui Thi Tam                            1978                 Temporary vow

43. Mary Vianne Pham Thi Minh Nguyet        1983                 Temporary vow

44. Mary Teresa Ha Thi Nghia                          1980                 Temporary vow

45. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Nhuan                     1980                 Temporary vow

46. Mary Gabriel Tran Thi Hoan                       1983                 Temporary vow

47. Mary Elizabeth Ha Thi Thang                     1982                 Temporary vow

48. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Van Kieu           1979                 Temporary vow

49. Mary Goretti Luu Thi Bich Chi                     1972                 Temporary vow

50. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Vong                       1965                 Temporary vow

51. Mary Francis Dao Thi Hang                         1975                 Temporary vow

52. Mary Martin Nguyen Thi Thuyen               1982                 Temporary vow

53. Mary Ann Nguyen Thi Bich Nga                1982                 Temporary vow

54. Mary Ann Hoang Thi Lang                          1981                 Temporary vow

55. Mary Goretti Nguyen Thi Kim Nhung       1976                 Temporary vow

56. Mary Scholastica Pham Thi Lieu                   1975                 Temporary vow

57. Mary Catherine Tran Thi Voc                      1984                 Temporary vow

58. Mary Teresa Tran Thi Huong                      1983                 Temporary vow

59. Mary Elizabeth Bui Thi Phuong Trang       1975                 Temporary vow

60. Mary Teresa Pham Thi Kinh                        1980                 Temporary vow

61. Mary Peter Tran Thi  Huong Thao             1978                 Temporary vow

62. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh       1972                 Temporary vow

63. Mary Ann Hoang Thi Lao                             1982                 Temporary vow

64. Mary Teresa Luong Thi  Dung                     1979                 Temporary vow

65. Mary  Ann Tran Thi Xuan                            1983                 Temporary vow

66. Mary Margaret Tran Thi Hien Hoa           1986                      Novitiate

67. Mary Magdalene Nguyen Thi Dac               1982                      Novitiate

68. Mary Ann Tran Thi Kinh                              1978                      Novitiate

69. Mary Joseph Tran Duc Vi Dan                     1982                      Novitiate

70. Mary Ann Thai Thi Thuy                              1985                      Novitiate

71.Mary Monica Duong Thi Hien                      1982                      Novitiate

72. Mary Martha Nguyen Thi Tuyet                  1984                      Novitiate

73. Mary Joan Doan Thi Bich Phuong                1980                      Novitiate

74. Mary Teresa Nguyen Thi My  Phung         1983                      Novitiate

75. Mary Ann Ha Thi Huong                              1984                      Novitiate

76. Mary Lucy Nguyen Thi The                         1984                      Novitiate

77.Mary Vu Thi Hong Lien                                1980                      Novitiate

78. Mary Ann Vu Thi Ngoc Tuyen                    1987                      Novitiate

79. Mary Lucy Tran Thi Anh Le                        1987                      Novitiate

80. Mary Hoang Thi Loc                                      1982                      Novitiate

81. Mary Nguyen Thi Huyen                              1986                      Novitiate

82. Mary Tran Thi Loan                                      1984                      Novitiate

83. Mary Nguyen Vu Kim My                             1983                      Novitiate

84. Mary Ho Thi Thu Thuy                                 1973                      Novitiate

85. Mary Tran Thi Hong Diep                            1989                      Novitiate

86. Cecilia Le Thi Thiet                                       1987                       Postulate

87. Mary Ha Thi Huong Lan                              1989                       Postulate

88. Mary Nguyen Thi Thom                                1991                       Postulate

89. Ann Nguyen Thi Thu Vinh                          1984                       Postulane

90.  Ann Nguyen Thanh Thuy                             1979                       Postulate

91. Mary Hoang Thi Thu Thao                           1992                       Postulate


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