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Gift of hope


When Mother Teresa visited Baltimore Wednesday to dedicate a convent for her order of Roman Catholic nuns near St. Wenceslaus Church in East Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winner whom many consider a living saint for her work among the poor spoke only a few words to the large crowd gathered for the occasion. She reminded her audience that God "wants us to love one another as he loves us." Then she handed out small religious medals.

It was such a simple gesture one might have wondered why those who had waited for hours just to catch a glimpse of this renowned religious figure found it so moving. Surely it was not the medals themselves, but what they represented: the gift of hope which her life and work have brought to so many people around the world. That is also the name of her order's convent in Baltimore. Its power may be seen in the fact that while many orders of Catholic nuns have steadily declined in numbers over the years, Mother Teresa's is growing rapidly. Surely that suggests the "gift of hope" is more than just another pleasant turn of phrase; might it even be described, like Mother Teresa herself has been, as a miracle?

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