Local priest recalls encounter with Mother Teresa

Father Gabriel Pivarnik, of Providence College, had the chance to meet with Mother Teresa, he said.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of thousands of Catholics will make a pilgrimage to the Vatican this weekend to witness the canonization of Mother Teresa.

The iconic humanitarian will be made a saint on Sunday for dedicating her life to the poor and sick – and for curing the incurable.

On Friday, Eyewitness News caught up with a local priest at Providence College who described his own unforgettable encounter with Mother Teresa.

“She came in to visit her sisters during their profession date and my profession was going on at the same time and a friend of mine who happened to know her set up the meeting between us the next day,” said Father Gabrial Pivarnik, the Vice President for Mission and Ministry at PC.

Pivarnik said he was speechless as he met the woman who was best known for her selflessness.

“When I first recognized her, she was behind me and I literally looked at her and stared and I went dumb,” he said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.”

According to Father Pivarnik, it takes more than good deeds and worldwide fame to become a Catholic saint.

“Well, I think in Mother Teresa’s case it wasn’t that she did great works. She did unbelievable works, and she did it in the areas of the world where no one else dared to go.

Before her, if you look specifically at India, she was willing to go into places and areas where these people had been cast a side. It wasn’t just a question of her helping them or being nice to them – they were the untouchables and she said, ‘I’m willing to touch you.'”

It also takes two miracles proven by the Vatican, Pivarnik said.

Father Gabriel Pivarnik, of Providence College, had the chance to meet with Mother Teresa, he said.
Father Gabriel Pivarnik, of Providence College, had the chance to meet with Mother Teresa, he said.

“The first one usually leads to the beatification process – that initial first step. And then a second one has been proven and verified then the process moves forward to canonization,” he said.

In Mother Teresa’s case, two individuals claim they were healed of tumors after praying to her.

Pope Francis will celebrate Mother Teresa’s canonization Mass on Sunday.

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