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The Triumph Of The Human Spirit

No story of Calcutta is complete without mentioning Mother Teresa – the model of the amazing human spirit, pictured here carrying the Torch of Peace Photo by Kedar Misani, October 1994

No story of Calcutta is complete without mentioning Mother Teresa – the model of the amazing human spirit, pictured here carrying the Torch of Peace
Photo by Kedar Misani, October 1994

Do you think that you could survive in a ghetto block in a suburb of Calcutta, India, along with 50,000 others?  Picture the conditions: no toilet facilities, except community outhouses, no running water, only a loose tin covering for a roof, and the whole family living in one room with a wood fire for cooking purposes.

In the 1985 best seller paperback entitled, The City of Joy, a noted French writer spelled out the day to day activities of these 50,000 men, women and children.  Only after several years of first hand contact with these people, did he choose this title.  With just enough food to eat from day to day, these economically depressed Indians showed a stirring triumph of the human spirit.

Dominique Lapierre, the French author, constantly writes of his amazement at the lighthearted, bubbling spirit of joyousness in the lives of these 50,000 human beings crowded together into this one block.  They had not time to wring their hands at the abominable living conditions.  Of all different religious faiths, these country people had come to Calcutta to escape starvation.  Strangers to each other, they went out of their way to help one another.

After reading the book, I found another reason to say, “Three cheers for the human spirit, indomitable, unpredictable, amazingly strong and enduring.”  Even the smallest children worked along with the adults to provide for their families.  A rickshaw puller had an average life span of 7 years, after which his lungs would burst.

The human spirit can rise to unbelievable heights in terms of gratitude to God, self-sacrificing love and the joyful acceptance of the problems of life.  If Americans grow smug from the “good life”, and put God aside as not necessary, they may end their days in selfishness and resentment of others.

We ask ourselves difficult questions.  “At what stage of growth is my human spirit?  What sense of joyousness rules my life?”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

November 15, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , ,


  1. Sent from my iPad


    Comment by Joanne Kelly | November 15, 2014 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George, I know myself and know that I would not do well having to live in that type of environment! Just being sick for the past three weeks and I am complaining all the time! I should try to suffer in silence more, but I find that hard to do. One book that you might find interesting (books on CD) would be the book called ‘Unbroken’ – about a man who was a fantastic runner and almost entered into the Olympics and then World War II broke out – he was shot down over the Pacific ocean and lost at sea for seven weeks, and then a POW in a Japanese prisoner camp for years and subjected to horrific torture. It was a fascinating book and is coming out as a movie on Christmas Day. The actual man, named Louis Zamperini, recently passed away at the age of 97! What a beautiful spirit and brave man. I will ask you if you have this book on CD and if not, I can send it to you.

    We are sometimes not very happy and I wonder, why not? We have what we want, live comfortably. I think just becoming closer to God and praying more will help me. I have been saying a daily Rosary for awhile now and I feel so relaxed and peaceful while I am saying it and when I am done. Prayer is powerful, but then you already know that! 🙂

    Talk to you soon,

    Comment by nancywest22 | November 30, 2014 | Reply

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