Mother Teresa in Brooklyn

Dear Editor: Msgr. Joe Nugent’s affectionate reminiscence of a time when Mother Teresa visited Brooklyn (“Editor’s Space,” Sept. 3) recalls July 27, 1982, the day Mass was celebrated in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bushwick, marking the official founding of the Missionaries of Charity’s contemplative branch in the Brooklyn Diocese.

After the Mass, some of the attendees streamed by the convent at 34 Aberdeen St., where they were greeted by Mother Teresa as she stood outside the refurbished residence. Refurbished and refurnished too, though not quite to her exacting standards.

In his typical generous manner, Bishop Francis J. Mugavero had delegated Msgr. John H. “Dixie” Walker, who headed the Diocesan Building Office, to make the arrangements to create a comfortable convent for the Sisters. The furnishings included sturdy brass beds for the contemplatives. Therein lay a problem.

The future canonized saint took the Bishop aside that day and thanked him for his gracious help. Then she respectfully but firmly said to him the beds had to go. The Sisters, she explained, would be sleeping on the floor, atop simple mats.

Dutifully, the Bishop summoned Msgr. Walker and told him of the change. The next day the beds were gone.

As it was for Msgr. Nugent, this was another slice of diocesan history when Mother Teresa graced the streets of Brooklyn.


Wilton, Conn.