The golden heart

As Missionaries of Charity was growing fast and earning international fame, more and more volunteers were joining the mission to become Sisters. They included foreigners. Mother Teresa was very motherly to the Sisters as she knew that those girls had come to her leaving their homes and dear ones. The Missionaries of Charity must become a large family to accommodate them emotionally as well, so Mother Teresa realised.
She wanted the young Sisters to develop their natural talents for the enhancement of the mission. Some of the developed talents could be immensely useful to the mission especially in the field of medicine.
A such case was that of Sister Andrea of German origin. Mother noticed the talent of that blue eyed, clear skinned pretty girl Sister. Sister Andrea lived on the same floor and same house as Mother Teresa, that is 14, Creek Lane.
Andrea had been a brilliant student. She topped in exams till B.Sc. ending with a gold medal. So, she faced no difficulty in getting the admission for M.B.B.S. course in Neel Ratan Medical College.
She was encouraged by Mother Teresa to take up the course and become a qualified doctor. Sister Andrea joined the college. But whenever she was allowed time she would come back to the Homes of Mother to lend a helping hand in serving the poor. She became a respected figure in the college when other students learnt her connection with Missionaries of Charity and Mother Teresa.
After taking the final year’s exam, Sister Andrea returned to Mother.
In the due course, the result of the exam came in. Sister Andrea had again topped and won the gold medal. She went to the college and collected her certificate and the gold medal on the advice of Sister Superior. Mother Teresa was then not in the town.
Sister Andrea couldn’t wait to show her gold medal and the certificate to Mother. She was seized by a youthful excitement to celebrate her achievement and be praised.
Mother Teresa returned shortly later. Sister Andrea enthusiastically showed her the gold medal. Mother looked at the medal and congratulated Andrea. She didn’t return the medal to Andrea. Instead, she played with it for some time and then put it down on the table.
Mother spoke, “Sister Andrea! What would you do with this medal? You won’t apply for a job and you won’t start any private practice to display the degree declaring ‘Sister Andrea, M.B.B.S. Gold Medalist.’ Have you given it a thought?”
Sister Andrea had not.
She stammered, “Oh no, Mother. I didn’t think about it.”
“You must think, Sister.”
“I guess, yes, Mother.”
Mother Teresa simplified the situation. “You worked hard for the degree. You learnt to treat the diseases. That is the only important thing for you. You will now be able to serve the sick in a more helpful way. But the gold medal will serve no purpose for a Mission Sister like you. I will advise you to go to the University and return the gold medal to the Vice Chancellor and request him to give the medal to the next student in the topper’s list. The medal will brighten up his professional prospects.”
Andrea stood there confused for a while as the truth revealed by Mother took time to sink in.
Mother Teresa cajoled, “Sister, the poor suffering people need our love, compassion and care. The gold medal would mean nothing to them. You will be serving the poorest and the people of no letters.”
Sister Andrea got the point.
Accordingly Sister Andrea went to the University and returned the gold medal with polite explanation. The Vice Chancellor and the Registrar were shocked. No gold medal ever had been returned in that way. They reasoned with Sister Andrea to rethink but she insisted. The confused authorities had to take back the medal unwillingly.
The gold medal was passed on to the student who had secured the second position who incidentally was from a poor family. His parents had incurred heavy debts to finance his medical education. For the young doctor the medal meant a lot. It would prove golden key to his success. The University authorities told him about Sister Andrea and Mother Teresa.
The doctor framed the medal and hung it in his cabin. When he got his first salary he went to Mother Teresa and surrendered it at her feet. He made it rule to buy medicines out of his every salary and donate the same to Mother Homes for her patients.
The doctor later quit his job and opened his own private clinic in a posh colony of the city. On the wall of his clinic hung Mother Teresa’s picture and the framed gold medal.
Years later, Mother Teresa and Sister Andrea by chance dropped in to the good doctor’s clinic to get some advice or medicine. They saw the medal and the picture and smiled happily at each other. The doctor had the good fortune to meet the girl with the golden heart who had made him a gold medalist.
The time passed. Mother Teresa became a global figure. Her Homes opened up in almost all countries including one in New York. Sister Dr. Andrea took charge of that home and served the poorest of the richest country.

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