Mother Teresa on Abortion...

[P]oor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.

When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society - that spiritual poverty is much harder to overcome. And abortion…brings a people to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.

Those who are materially poor can be very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition. I told the Sisters, “You take care of the other three; I will take care of the one who looks worse.” So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only, “Thank you,” and she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked, “What would I say if I were in her place?” And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, “I am hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain,” or something. But she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face.

Then there was the man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms, and after we had brought him to the home, he only said, “I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for.” Then, after we had removed all the worms from his body, all he said, with a big smile, was, “Sister, I am going home to God,” and he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel. This is the greatness of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.

- Excerpts from Mother Teresa’s 1994 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.