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Local priests recall encounters with Mother Teresa


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BRAINTREE -- "It was October of 1990, and she was staying at the soup kitchen at the Vatican," began Father Chris O'Connor, recalling the time he met Mother Teresa.

At the time, Father O'Connor, now vice-rector of St. John's Seminary in Brighton was a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He and two other seminarians had heard that Mother Teresa was "in town" at one of the soup kitchens she and her sisters founded, so they waited to visit her.

When the small group was finally able to see her, the first thing Father O'Connor noticed was her hands.

"The thing that struck me from the meeting first and foremost was her hands are massive," he said.

"I kept thinking certainly God gave her huge hands to do His work," he recalled.

Mother Teresa gave each of the seminarians a miraculous medal, and Father O'Connor said that she made two comments that stuck with him: "If you will not be a holy priest, do not be a priest at all," and "When you are ordained, take care of my sisters."

The latter comment, Father O'Connor said, "has led to me to celebrate Mass every Saturday at the Missionaries of Charity since about 2005."

Father Bill Kelly, pastor of the Parish of St. Paul in Cambridge, also met Mother Teresa while studying in Rome, and he recalled a similar comment the new saint made to him during a one-on-one conversation.

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