04/09/2016 Songs of Praise


04/09/2016

To mark Mother Teresa being canonised, Ann Widdecombe explores the making of a saint, and the programme meets an orphan who owes his life to Mother Teresa's care.


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Transcript


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Her image is as unforgettable

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as her legacy.

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I'm Ann Widdecombe, and today I'm exploring the canonisation of

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the world's most famous nun, Mother Teresa.

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Even in her lifetime, she was known as the Saint of the Gutters.

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But, today, Mother Teresa has officially become

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St Teresa of Calcutta.

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I was blessed to meet her, and what I remember is the tiny stature,

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the deep humility, the profound holiness.

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She transformed many thousands of lives,

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and we hear the personal story of one of those.

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Mother Teresa is significant because she gave me a chance

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to have a second life.

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We meet the computer whizz

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whose idea is helping people to be more independent.

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And as it's back to school this week, Claire McCollum

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visits some teachers volunteering in Dunkirk's migrant camp.

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I want them to be safe and I want them to have a future.

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Mother Teresa is remembered for her service to others,

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and that's reflected in our music today.

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She once said, "If ever I become a saint,

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"I shall be continually absent from heaven,

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"to light the light of those in darkness on Earth."

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Today, Mother Teresa has become a saint of the Catholic Church.

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She was THE religious icon of the 20th century, known the world

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over for helping the disadvantaged while living among them.

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But it all began here in Dublin when, in 1928,

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a young Albanian woman called Agnes Bojaxhiu

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joined a religious order known as the Loreto Nuns.

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She famously lived out her calling in the slums of Calcutta

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and became known as "the Living Saint",

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after founding the sisterhood the Missionaries of Charity.

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Touching the lives of tens of thousands, the sisters built

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homes for orphans and hospices for the dying.

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Mother Teresa brought the plight of the poor to the world stage,

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and in 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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I am very happy to receive it in the name of the hungry,

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of the naked, of the homeless,

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of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared...

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Such was her impact, that ever since her death in 1907, people have been

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debating how soon it would be before Mother Teresa was made a saint.

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I've got a special respect for her,

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and I've been one of many supporting the cause of her sainthood.

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But the processes of that sainthood are not straightforward.

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A saint isn't sort of a posthumous knighthood,

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that somehow or other, after you're dead, you get this little title.

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A sainthood is something that people notice in the life of someone.

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And when they die, there's an attempt to say,

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how can we ascertain, was the sainthood there?

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As well as gathering personal testimonies,

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there also has to be evidence of miracles.

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Miracles aren't easy to come by, and a Vatican commission

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investigated claims of unexplained medical cures brought about

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by prayers to Mother Teresa, before two were given papal approval.

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Sainthood is a recognition that this person is holy, and a believer

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can turn to them and ask them to intercede for them with God.

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But, for most people, her saintliness lay in her humility.

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If she went for a television interview, she wasn't looking

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at what blouse to put on today or what jacket to put on today.

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She always appeared the same, in this very unworthy dress.

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What do you think she would make of her sainthood?

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That she lived her life according to her insights, her principles,

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and if she found that being a saint could maybe help other people,

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then she would be delighted to do that.

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Despite her association with India,

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her religious training began here in Dublin in the Loreto Abbey.

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Sister Philomena also began her vocation there, and she met

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Mother Teresa many times.

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I followed the same route as Mother Teresa. I joined Loreto

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in Rathfarnham, Dublin, and I was assigned to India.

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And I worked there in our orphanage in Loreto Entally,

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and many of Mother Teresa's children were brought to that orphanage

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to be educated.

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So I had the privilege of meeting her through those little children.

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I also met her on occasions when we had religious celebrations.

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Did you think she was a saint?

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Er, in those days, she was just an ordinary sister, like all of us.

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But we were always aware of the great work she was doing,

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and that she was fulfilling the precept of the gospel.

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"As long as you did it to one of these my least, you did it to me."

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Not only did she do that herself, but she led others.

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# Lord, for tomorrow and its needs... #

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Mother Teresa spent many years in Calcutta,

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teaching some of the world's poorest children.

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The need to educate those on the margins of society is still

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a problem today, as Claire McCollum has been finding out.

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CLAIRE: There's been a refugee camp just outside Dunkirk since 2006,

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but in the last year, the number of migrants

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has grown from around 100 to 2,500, including 200 children.

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And a group of British teachers have come to the camp on a mission.

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They're determined to give those children an education in the

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most difficult circumstances,

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and I've come to find out how they're doing it.

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Six. Two times six.

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12. Three times six...

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'So, you were teaching back in the UK...'

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Why did you decide to make the move here?

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I think I came here in the middle of winter and there wasn't

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anything for the children. They were surrounded by mud.

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They were literally wading through mud that was going up to the top

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of my Wellingtons, and everything about that day,

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I remember so clearly as just wrong.

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And we had an opportunity from Christmas to be able to do

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something about it, so that's what we did.

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We came and we said,

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"We're teachers, we can teach, we can educate,

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"we can give them a reason to get up in the morning and just try."

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Yeah, just give them the best of education

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and just do what we can do.

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So, who actually is in the camp here and who comes to the school?

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Largely, we have got a lot of Kurdish people here in the camp.

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When we sit with the children and talk to them about why they're here,

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how they've got here, they are from northern Iraq, from Iran,

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from Turkey, from Syria,

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and they will say, "I'm here because of Daesh."

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And that's their answer.

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And they'll tell you stories about how their village

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has been flattened or how Isis were in the hills behind the village

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and that's why they have left.

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We will see children for two weeks

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or sometimes we will see them for six months.

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We've got a few families that have been here a long time.

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And then suddenly, they're just gone.

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When I'm hearing some of the back stories of the families,

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it's very, very difficult to keep faith with humanity sometimes.

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And how has your own faith been tested, would you say?

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I don't think it's been tested. In fact, almost quite the opposite.

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I've had to just give it to God to sort out and do what I can,

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but know, actually, there's so much that I can't help.

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What do you want for the children here?

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I want them to be safe and I want them to have a future.

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They've started to get used to French life, French culture,

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and being introduced to actually being in France.

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We're working with the French authorities at the moment and the

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local mayor's office to actually have more places available in

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French schools for them.

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And, from September, having the children all having places

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available in the local primary and secondary schools, which

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would be a fantastically successful end to this project here in France.

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# When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary

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# When troubles come

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# And my heart burdened be

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# Then I am still

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# And wait here in the silence

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# Until you come

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# And sit awhile with me

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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# To walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# Stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# Stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# Ooh, ooh

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# Stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# Stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be. #

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Coming up later,

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two very different people whose lives changed forever when

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they met at one of Mother Teresa's homes for orphaned children.

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The words to our next piece of music were written by another Teresa -

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St Teresa of Avila - nearly 500 years ago,

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and they have a resonance on this very special day.

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# Christ has no body now

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# But yours

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# No hands

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# No feet on earth but yours

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# Yours are the eyes with which he sees

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# Yours are the feet with which he walks

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# Yours are the hands

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# With which he blesses all of us

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# Yours are the hands

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# Christ has no body now

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# But yours

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# No hands

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# No feet on earth but yours

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# Yours are the eyes with which he sees

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# Yours are the feet with which he walks

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# Yours are the hands

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# With which he blesses all of us

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# Yours are the feet

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# Christ has no body now

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# But yours

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# No hands

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# No feet on earth but yours

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# Yours are the eyes with which he sees

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# Yours are the feet with which he walks

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# Yours are the hands

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# With which he blesses all of us

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# Yours are the hands

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# Yours are the feet

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# Yours are the eyes. #

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Saints are a source of inspiration to me.

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Especially when I'm feeling doubtful or downcast.

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Inspiration comes in many different forms,

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and from many different places.

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Our next story was inspired by the basic need to feed oneself.

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Grant Douglas is a computing expert

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with a successful career in IT support.

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He also has cerebral palsy.

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This lifelong condition

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makes seemingly simple everyday tasks very difficult.

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But that didn't stop Grant designing something beautifully simple

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that has helped him and hundreds of others.

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When his mum had to stop to answer the phone,

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Grant began to wonder how he could eat his cornflakes by himself,

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without spilling the cereal.

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This spark of an idea remained in his mind

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until the church's Christmas fair.

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Fellow church member Rosi overheard him talking about his great idea.

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I thought, "I've got a friend who has a design technology company,"

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and I thought, "Well, I might approach him

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"to see if he could help."

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Soon, Grant had a prototype spoon.

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Grant decided he was going to try to bring his new spoon to market,

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but that would take ?16,000.

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Again, the answer came from Grant's church,

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which raised the funds through donations.

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Pat Morrison was one of the first customers.

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Well, I suffer from Parkinson's disease,

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and it's wonderful for eating rice,

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or something of that nature.

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And it does give you more confidence.

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But the S'up Spoon's success has not been limited to Edinburgh.

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I've never heard Grant be angry with God,

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or resent the fact that he has this disability,

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and I think it's his faith that inspires us all.

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I visited Mother Teresa's mission in Calcutta,

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where she and her Missionaries of Charity

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touched the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

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And, next, a remarkable story of two individuals

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from very different worlds, whose paths crossed at that orphanage.

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Gautam Lewis was abandoned by his birth parents as a small child.

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He was suffering from polio, and was taken in by Mother Teresa.

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Because of my disability, it meant I couldn't just run around.

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So there was many days and hours of just being in the cot,

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and not really having a childhood

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like you would imagine someone at kindergarten to have.

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Dr Patricia Lewis, then volunteering in Calcutta

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at a rehabilitation centre for children,

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regularly visited Mother Teresa's children's home.

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When I met Gautam first, he was five years old

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and he had had polio, probably since he was about 18 months,

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and so he was immobile most of the day.

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And I had worked out that this foreign person...

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..I could get her attention by playing with the cats.

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His favourite way was to grab the cat

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because he knew I loved the cat, so he would make me come running.

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I soon started to form a nice bond with her, and I don't know,

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but maybe, because I was so used to surviving,

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I saw her as my way out.

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So maybe I made her want to love me.

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If I can say that!

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Why would I, in my sort of mid-20s,

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single person, just about to begin her career, adopt a child?

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But I loved him. He was lovely. He was such a cute kid,

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and he was so funny and intelligent and sweet

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and, yeah, it just made sense.

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Everything that Patricia has done for me is beyond amazing and

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if I could be a little bit of what Patricia is, then I'd be very happy.

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Patricia's choice changed Gautam's life beyond recognition.

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He was educated at England's best schools and would later work

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as a pilot and a photographer.

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I was once one of India's poorest,

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with very little hope of a future.

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But I became one of England's luckiest.

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There has to be some form of a miracle that connected my life path

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to cross with Mother Teresa's at that point in time.

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When I went to visit Mother Teresa's tomb,

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I found it very hard to hold back the tears.

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There was a very strange...

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It's almost like an electrical...

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There was some electricity feeling that was going around my brain,

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and I don't know what it is. Maybe she knew I was sitting there

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and she was just trying to say hello.

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Mother Teresa had the spiritual connection with people

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that she saw in them the life of Christ, the suffering, the spirit,

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and connected with that.

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And I am just one of thousands of children around the world

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who has been given a place of feeling safe and loved.

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Yeah! You've done it!

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# Wonderful...

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# No eye...

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# Beautiful one...

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# Beautiful...

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# Beautiful one... #

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Next week, the 15th anniversary of 9/11,

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Sally meets Christians who have responded with faith, hope and love

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in the face of attacks on their freedom.

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But until then, on the day that Mother Teresa becomes St Teresa,

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a hymn that's a prayer for the world

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of which she would certainly approve.

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ORCHESTRA PLAYS: CARMEN - PRELUDE BY GEORGES BIZET

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HE PLAYS RANDOM NOTES

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ORCHESTRA CONTINUES WITH RANDOM NOTES ON DOUBLE BASS

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Coming soon, our Virtual Orchestra world premiere

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at the Last Night Of The Proms celebrations.

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HE PLAYS DISCORDANT NOTES

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To mark Mother Teresa being canonised, Ann Widdecombe explores the making of a saint, and the programme meets an orphan who owes his life to Mother Teresa's care. Plus inspirational hymns and music from across the UK.

Music:

For All the Saints from Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Lord for Tomorrow and Its Needs from St. Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich You Raise Me Up by Shane Filan Christ Has No Body But Yours by Exultate Singers This Little Light of Mine from Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle upon Tyne Beautiful One from New Testament Assembly, Tooting Beauty for Brokeness from Leicester Cathedral, Leicester.


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