Clinton recalls impact of Mother Teresa
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has recalled how her relationship with Mother Teresa began in 1994 during the National Prayer Breakfast when the founder of the Missionaries of Charity was the keynote speaker and Mrs Clinton attended as the First Lady.
As the keynote speaker at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, Secretary of State Clinton outlined how a discussion at the gathering that year led to a collaboration between the First Lady with the Missionaries of Charity.
This in turn led to the opening of the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children in Washington just over a year later.
Noting that she has attended the breakfast as First Lady, as a senator and now as Secretary of State, through three presidential administrations, Clinton said her own heart “has been touched and occasionally pierced by the words I’ve heard”.
She added, “during difficult and painful times, my faith has been strengthened by the personal connections that I have experienced with people who, by the calculus of politics, were on the opposite side of me on the basis of issues or partisanship.”
Clinton also talked about the role of religion in the world’s diplomatic realm, noting that each of the world’s major religions “got the same talking points and the same marching orders” to love one another and care for those who have the least.
Yet, she said, “across the world, we see organised religion standing in the way of faith, perverting love, undermining that message.”
In various places, religion is used to justify horrific violence, to deny human rights and to enshrine intolerance in law, she said. “It seems to be a rather dramatic identity crisis.”
President Barack Obama also spoke at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, continuing a long-standing presidential tradition for the annual gathering.
The several-day event draws thousands of people from around the world, including a broad representation from Washington’s political and diplomatic circles, but little of the proceedings are open to reporters.