WASHINGTON (September 5, 1997) -- Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, issued the following statement today on the death of Mother Teresa:
"Mother Teresa imitated Christ and her life was a lesson in love. As she personally tended the sick and the dying in Calcutta's slums, she helped people there and beyond see the material and spiritual poverty that confronts modern society.
She taught all -- from youth groups to governments -- through piety and charm, wisdom and simplicity. As small and soft-spoken as she was, her reach was large and her message heard around the world.
She saw Jesus in everyone -- from the child in the womb, to the sick and vulnerable, especially those afflicted with AIDS, to the aged and dying abandoned in the streets of Calcutta. She urged people everywhere to reach beyond themselves to heal those hurting about them.
Mother Teresa transcended cultures and politics as she spoke of God's call to love and assist the poor. She had a profound realization that anyone she was with -- immigrant, alien, president or prime minister, was first of all a Child of God and intrinsically worthy of respect. Her life will stand as a reminder to all of us that we are called to care for one another and especially that we are called to respect and aid the poorest among us.
God blesses the world with wonderful treasures -- certainly Mother Teresa has been one of the finest of our century."