Talk show host visits campus
Susan Conroy, author and talk show host of the “Speaking of Saints” series on the Eternal World Television Network, spoke at the College to students and members of the Waterville community on Thursday, April 19. Conroy’s book, titled Mother Teresa's Lessons of Love and Sanctity, shares anecdotes of Mother Theresa and the life lessons Conroy learned by caring for the poor with the Saint in Calcutta, India.
Conroy, a Portland, Maine native and graduate of Dartmouth College first traveled to Calcutta the summer following her junior year in college to volunteer with Mother Teresa in her Home for the Dying. “The more I learned about Mother Teresa, the more I wanted to help,” Conroy said.
In addition to wanting to help the poor, Conroy cited the opportunity work with a modern day Saint as motivation for the trip. “When I heard there was someone in the world that was considered a modern Saint I wanted to see [her] with my own eyes,” Conroy said. Upon arrival, Conroy witnessed conditions of extreme destitution. “Nothing I ever witnessed in Portland prepared me for the poverty of Calcutta. Calcutta is a city where literally thousands of people sleep on the streets every night,” she said.
While many of the volunteers, including Conroy herself, lacked medical qualifications and training, they all shared one common trait: love for humanity. “If you have love you can take care of the sick and dying or the poor. Mother Teresa welcomed anyone with hands to serve and a heart to love,” Conroy said.
Despite the hardships of witnessing death each day, bed bugs, extreme heat and unsanitary conditions, Conroy was able to view the situation with joy and privilege—feelings inspired by Mother Teresa. “She explained that the people we were serving are the sick, the dying, the lepers [and] if we go to them without joy they will only become more sad. Our joy and our laughter were nourishing their souls,” Conroy said.
Conroy couldn’t help but feel enlightened in the presence of Mother Teresa. “It was a really beautiful thing to experience…I loved to watch and to try to learn by her example. She was filled with the fullness of God,” Conroy said.
In addition to depictions of her work in Calcutta, Conroy relayed stories and interactions with Mother Teresa as a way to share meaningful messages and advice with the audience. Conroy touched on aspects of joy, peace and love and the ways in which they can be given and received in life.
Conroy’s message targeted students on the Hill who are faced with making life changing decisions such as where to go to school, where to live, what major to study and whom to marry. She offered insight to the decision making process by relating a story of Mother Teresa’s.
“Mother Teresa asked a priest, ‘How do I know if doing missionary work in India is my will or God’s will?’ The priest replied saying joy should be the compass to making your life decisions. If the thought of taking a different path fills you with anxiety, fear and hesitation don’t go that way. If joy is the compass of your life your life will be much more full of peace,” Conroy shared.
Conroy is currently touring colleges in New England and working on a new book.