Stella Deetjen – recalling a meeting with Mother Teresa
on September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa passed away. My encounter with her will remain in my heart forever. This situation, how I met her and what I felt, I’ve described in my book "Unberührbar":
"I've always loved being out and about on my own. It made me feel more awake and I could give my undivided attention to the new things I’ve found. Yet, on the train ride to Calcutta I almost slept the entire time, as I took the highest flip-up bench and simply left it fold-down. I stretched out comfortably and so we rolled almost 700 kilometres across India.
In Calcutta I felt overwhelmed by this mega city. Although Benares is a city of millions, my life there took place on the river banks of Ganga, giving everything a rather rural character. Heavy traffic raged here and the crowds seemed even denser, if that was possible. The houses were bigger and much higher. Men pulled wooden rickshaws with their hands – they had no bicycles, only their own physical strength. The English had left their mark on the large roundabouts and the imposing buildings.
Early in the morning I went looking for Mother Teresa’s home. The traffic was still bearable and the house was easy to find – everyone knew the devoted nun, who was like the living patron of the city next to the black goddess Kali Ma, who was worshiped by the Hindus.
My heart pounded heavily as I entered the unlocked door. I heard prayers, people were celebrating a service. The room was filled with nuns, all in plain white cotton saris with a blue trim, the hallmark of the Missionaries of Charity. Immediately I saw her – she was literally glowing.
Mother Teresa sat in a wheelchair in the front row, her hands folded devoutly in prayer. Although she appeared small and slumped in her wheelchair, she did not seem weak, but like a blossoming bush. I could barely take my eyes off her. A priest led the service. When it was finished and the ranks cleared, I seized the opportunity and ran directly towards Mother Teresa, kneeled in front of her and touched her feet to pay my respect. She gave me a friendly, laughing, kind-hearted look and signalled for me to sit next to her. I saw a lively, old woman with a perky energy that could open any heart with her wrinkled smile.
She took my hands and asked, 'child, are you working for my leprosy sufferers?’ She looked directly at me. My heart was jumping, how could she possibly know? ‘Yes, Mother Teresa. I have a small project for leprosy patients in Benares. It's called Back to Life. Please, bless it.’ So she did. Mother Teresa blessed Back to Life and she blessed me. That moment would become so precious to me.
Her wrinkles were vivid, vital lifelines that moved and looked happy as if they were dancing when she spoke. A look into her eyes revealed immediately that she had served. She had found a source of love within herself, which she could draw on and share. Even as an old, physically bent woman this made her radiant, just like a bush, which has bent over the years, but still continues flowering and producing new shoots.
I stayed behind in a soulful bliss as she was pushed out of the room by the sisters. At the door, she actually waved at me again and I decided to stay with the subject and visit her facilities. I started with the house for the dying."