While discussing the upcoming canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a co-worker, Nancy, suggested that I interview our retired Charlotte bishop, William Curlin, who lived not far from our office.
She was present at the coliseum when the former bishop brought Mother Teresa to our hometown of Charlotte in 1995, and she knew they had a close relationship. She thought it would make for an interesting conversation.
Since Nancy had a connection with the bishop, I asked her to set up the interview. I thought we’d capture a few of his memories on video of the time he spent with Mother Teresa, something nice but simple.
But I was in for a surprise!
I had no idea of the extent of his relationship with the saint until I arrived at his Charlotte residence (the same family home that once belonged to his parents) and started asking him questions. Their bond was much closer than I had imagined when Nancy first suggested that we visit him.
This priest served as Mother Teresa’s spiritual director! He counseled her during her legendary “Dark Night”. She entrusted him with the spiritual care of her nuns. She called him her spiritual father and her spiritual son. When Mother Teresa died, he got a phone call from the motherhouse asking him to come to India for the funeral. He traveled there as a guest of the White House. All of these great stories he shared with us in our interview.
Bishop Curlin first met Mother Teresa in the 1970’s when he was a simple priest working with the poor, and she soon had him flying to India (and later New York, Philadelphia, Rome . . . etc.) to give spiritual retreats for her nuns. During their time apart they would often exchange letters.
At his house I was also able to see and touch things that Mother Teresa had personally given to him. I was in awe!
Meeting Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin—a treasure of a man—and learning about his long relationship with a living saint was a joy and a gift.
Below is the full 30+ minute interview recounting a great spiritual friendship between a holy priest and a holy nun. The moments shared in it about Mother Teresa’s life, and her powerful impact on those she encountered, had a deep effect on me. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did!
Posted below are more quick snapshots from my wonderful time spent talking with Bishop Curlin at his home.