This web site is dedicated to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, now Blessed Teresa. It is our hope that you will be inspired by knowing more about Mother Teresa through the eyes of her friend, Marlene T. Elias.
In 1987 Marlene had a life changing experience. She met Mother Teresa. Marlene’s brother, Monsignor John Esseff, was on his way to Calcutta, India to conduct a retreat for Mother Teresa and her Sisters, at the Motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity. Monsignor John asked for and received permission to bring his sister Marlene with him.
The friendship began and lasted until Mother died on September 5, 1997. The first time they met Marlene was not able to speak, much to the amazement of her brother, who said, “Mother, this is the longest period of time my sister has ever been silent.”
During those ten years Mother Teresa and Marlene shared special moments together in numerous places around the world.
Marlene spent the first few days of her initial visit to Calcutta, by going back to her room, weeping uncontrollably. She had never seen such devastation. The poor, the starving, the sick, were everywhere. She watched as Mother and her Sisters worked tirelessly and yet, they were the happiest people she had ever seen.
Marlene, a gifted singer and songwriter, was so inspired by Mother Teresa, that she wrote music and lyrics to dozens of songs. She recorded two CD’s and dedicated them to Mother Teresa. Mother heard Marlene’s songs for the first time while visiting her Mother house in the Bronx, New York. The excitement for Marlene came when she saw Mother tapping her feet, clapping and smiling. Two of the songs touched Mother so much, that she asked Marlene to make a promise to sing them at her funeral. The first song became Mother’s anthem, “AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER” and the second one captured her amazing love for Jesus, “SEE JESUS”. Marlene was blessed and humbled to sing at the funeral for Mother Teresa on September 13, 1997 in Calcutta, India.
Mother also asked Marlene to keep one other promise, “Go Marlene and share with people all that you have seen and heard”.
Since Mother Teresa’s death, Marlene has traveled the world, performing her tribute to Mother Teresa over 800 times. The locations include: television, radio, churches, hospitals, hotels, schools and even homes. The locations may be different, but the message remains the same: one woman, a housewife from Newbury Park, California shares many moments of her special friendship with one of the most incredible women the world will ever know, Mother Teresa.
Everything Mother did was done totally for the love of her beloved Jesus. Her work with the poorest of the poor is known world-wide. She wanted no praise or glory. She saw Jesus in everyone and was the face of Jesus to everyone.
In the tributes, Marlene brings Mother Teresa to life, with stories of them laughing, talking and even crying. These stories touch people each time. For these shared moments can only come from someone who was actually a close friend of Mother Teresa’s. Marlene shared many moments in her life that can only be described as gut-wrenching. She went to Mother who taught her lessons about life, including a lesson in forgiveness….the story of Marlene being told by Mother that “You must not only forgive the man who tried to kill your daughter, but you must pray for him as well. Jesus died not only for your daughter, but also for the man who tried to kill her.” This part of the tribute is a small part of what Mother taught Marlene.
Slides, with funny stories, bring out the incredible sense of humor of Mother Teresa. Marlene, who took so many pictures of Mother, once asked her if she ever got tired of people taking her picture. Mother said, “I dislike it but I made a deal with God that every time a flash bulb goes off, He must take a soul out of purgatory.”
Marlene smiled and said, “Well, Mother, we wiped it clean tonight.”
“Yes,” Mother said, “but it fills up so quickly.”
Mother Teresa And Me will try to continue to help people come to know the woman known as Mother Teresa, who soon will be Saint Teresa. Blessed Teresa was an example of humility and love for all to emulate and will continue to inspire people of all faiths.
My Friend, My Inspiration
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