• Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

Mr Speaker

I seek leave to move a motion regarding the recent death of Mother Teresa.

"I move that this House note the passing of Mother Teresa and records our sympathies at her loss. Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for bringing hope and dignity to millions of unwanted people. Her simple Christian charity and message of love and compassion for the poor was an inspiration to all. Her concerns had been to defend life and prevent suffering and with her death the world has lost a most selfless humanitarian."

Mr Speaker, less than a week after the world was thrown into mourning by the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, we mourn another remarkable woman - Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa was the embodiment of those ultimate human qualities, love and compassion; she was a global citizen in the finest sense of the term.

Described variously as "the Saint of the Gutters", the "Angel of Mercy" and simply "Mother", her world-wide ministry to the poor, the destitute and the dying during nearly half-a-century has served as an inspiration to us all.

With the enormous power of her humble faith and her lifetime of living it, she touched the lives of millions of people, not only in the teeming slums of Calcutta, but all over the world.

The Missionaries of Charity, which she founded in 1950, today has more than 4500 nuns in 111 countries and runs 517 orphanages, homes for the poor, Aids hospices and other charity centres.

When the world honoured her with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she simply said "I am unworthy." When the world heaped honours on her and heads of state met with her, she said "I am simply doing God's work."

She was, at all times, a symbol of selfless commitment.

There is a story told about Mother Teresa, in which she is said to have related a dream in which she died and arrived in heaven. When she saw St. Peters, she asked him to put her with the poor.

St. Peters reply was that there were no poor in heaven.

"Then send me back to Calcutta," was Mother Teresa's response.

Mother Teresa said she saw God in every suffering human being. She believed that there was no worse disease than that of feeling unwanted. Within her tiny frame, she carried a big heart - big enough to follow God's will and to show compassion and love for even the most destitute and downtrodden.

Mother Teresa once said: "The test at the end of life is not what you do, it is how much of yourself, how much love you put into what you do."

During her lifetime, Mother Teresa put herself and all of her love, into serving people. The world is a much better and nobler place because of her.

That is the great legacy she leaves us. Let us honour it.

Moe ra i te ringa kaha o Te Atua

Rest in the strong hand of God.