Cat Joanknecht found out on her three-week mission trip to Kolkata in January.
Cat worked in two homes operated by the Missionaries of Charity, the organisation founded by Mother Teresa. She spent her days cleaning, feeding people, giving hand and foot massages and sitting with patients.
She said her time spent with a brain-damaged woman taught her an important lesson.
“I was just sitting there holding her hand, just smiling at her and she smiling at me,” she said.
“I understood in a new way at that moment how we can bring God’s peace to one person at a time.”
“We can just love people one at a time and be with them in their suffering, even if we can’t necessarily solve all of their problems.”
Cat said one of the most challenging parts of her trip was seeing the large scale of poverty across the vast and densely populated city of Kolkata. “It was really overwhelming, seeing all the suffering and all of the needs,” she said.
Cat asked one of the Sisters (nuns) working at the home how she coped.
The Sister said, ‘When it gets really hard, I look at Jesus and He is enough for me.’
“I could see joy in her face as well”, Cat said. “It was really genuine.”
Cat said she learned to rely more on God for help during her time in India.
“Even though it was only a short trip, at times I felt that the task at hand was too overwhelming for me. But I asked Jesus to help me each day and He did,” she said.
“I couldn’t speak the language of most of the patients in the homes, but I hummed and sang quietly a lot. I realised that I can bring the peace of Christ wherever I go.”