Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Photojournalist to lead ‘Call of the Mother’ retreat next month at IHRC

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the April 28, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

An upcoming weekend retreat at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center promises to be unforgettable. Linda Schaefer, an author and photojournalist who spent six months volunteering in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity, will facilitate a weekend dedicated to the work and influence of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and how the nun’s works relate to the present circumstances in the world.

The retreat kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6 with dinner and ends on Sunday, May 8 after the annual Mother’s Day Brunch.

Schaefer said that the goal of the weekend is to help retreatants recognize their special God given-gifts and inspire them to use those gifts to serve others. Schaefer will share her personal journey with Mother Teresa, focusing on how the faithful nun inspired Schaefer to come to Calcutta and live and work in her world for a few months.

The weekend will include Masses, reflections, quiet prayer time and discussions.

Schaefer is the author of Come and See, a book that uses both still photography and heartfelt words to describe her experience with Mother Teresa and her ministry.

Schaefer first met Mother Teresa in 1995, when the nun visited Atlanta, where Schaefer makes her home. “She came up to me, grabbed my hands and just held them and looked at me for the longest time. I felt like I was just drawn into this atmosphere around her,” said Schaefer.

Several months later, Schaefer traveled to Calcutta, hoping and praying that Mother Teresa would grant her request to use photography to document the work of the Missionaries of Charity. When Schaefer asked, however, Mother Teresa’s response was not what she expected.

“I don’t need photographers,” said Mother Teresa. “I need volunteers. You go work at the orphanage tomorrow.” And thus began Schaefer’s immersion into work of the Missionaries of Charity.

In addition to the orphanage, Schaefer also volunteered in a home for the dying and in one of Mother Teresa’s leper colonies.

After some time volunteering, Mother Teresa acquiesced to Schaefer’s request to photograph her, the Missionaries of Charity and the work that they did. And although Mother Teresa was a woman of few words, Schaefer’s face-to-face meetings with her gave her very personal insights into Mother Teresa’s compassion and humility.

Before Schafer returned to the United States, the last thing Mother Teresa said to her was a request: that Schaefer make a commitment to the “work,” and over the years, Schaefer has looked for ways to help carry on Mother Teresa’s message. As a result, Schaefer devotes her time to sharing with the world her personal reflections and photographs of the life, mission and stories of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

(For more information or to register for the “Call of the Mother” retreat, call Immaculate Heart Retreat Center at (509) 448-1224.)

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