While the Sisters of Charity seem to shine with holiness as they go cheerfully about their heavy work, instantly recognizable the world over, the truth is that they are only one small part of the vast enterprise that is the Catholic Church’s charitable mission. Wherever there is war, famine, disease, ignorance, homelessness, there the Church goes to work, helping more effectively and with more tenderness than secular NGO’s and government programs ever could. In sheer numbers of people fed, elderly/dying housed, lepers attended, AIDS-sufferers succored, children educated, and sick cared for, the Church is, hands-down, the largest charitable organization in the world.
This is not a coincidence. The Church boasts luminaries like Mother Teresa because the Church for 2000 years has believed and taught that Jesus meant it when he said: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” To alleviate the suffering of others, no matter how marginalized or how far removed from our own cares and concerns, is a duty of each and every member of the Church. Some of her daughters—like Mother Teresa—take this duty and rise to dizzying heights with it. Others are inspired to volunteer for the St. Vincent De Paul society, or lend a hand at the parish nursery school where the migrant workers leave their babies as they head off to a hot day in the field.
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