Indians say conversion was not a motive behind Teresa’s kindness

Indians have condemned claims that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s sole aim in helping the poor was converting them to Christianity.

Speaking at the inauguration of an orphanage and women's home run by a Rajasthan-based NGO, nationalist leader Mohan Bhagwat, a fundamentalist Hindu, said “here we will not provide service like that rendered by Mother Teresa. It is possible that her kind of work was good, but there was a motive behind that service.”

Bl. Teresa’s service, he said, had one objective: “to convert the person, who was being served, into a Christian.”

Opposition parties staged protests in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament, demanding statements from the government and from prime minister Narendra Modi, whose BJP party is closely aligned with Mr Bhagwat’s RSS. The protests led to the parliamentary sitting being cancelled. 

India’s episcopal conference condemned the allegations for “casting aspersion” on Blessed Teresa, saying “Mother Teresa never had any hidden agenda nor did she ever use her services as a cover up for conversion. She always maintained that her main concern was to ease the suffering of people and to help the poor and the suffering to lead a life of relief and self-respect.” 

Poona’s Bishop Thomas Dabre told CNA that the unconditional nature of Bl Teresa’s service was shown by how “hundreds of thousands of people whom she served were people of different religions, and they remained in their religion till the end and she did not deny services to them, because they did not convert and left them to practice their faith”.

He added that she was joined in her work by scores of people from various religions. Among these Sikh Sunita Kumar, who worked with Bl Teresa for more than 30 years, and told The Hindu “all what Mother worked for was the service of humanity and peace in society.”