While doing some research for my current book project, I happened upon a letter written by Mother Teresa to both George H. W. Bush and Saddam Hussein in 1991. It was an open letter that perhaps received more attention then than it has now, but because I was only eight years old at the time of its publication, I certainly don’t recall that moment. And clearly, it had little effect. I think it’s worth reflecting on some sections of the letter, for it caused me to stop and imagine what sort of world we might live in today had the two world leaders listened to the prophetic call of an elderly nun twenty years ago. So much has changed since then, yet so much remains the same.
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January 2, 1991
Dear President George Bush and President Saddam Hussein,
I come to you with tears in my eyes and God’s love in my heart to plead to you for the poor and those who will become poor if the war that we all dread and fear happens. I beg you with my whole heart to work for, to labour for God’s peace and to be reconciled with one another.
You both have your cases to make and your people to care for but first please listen to the One who came into the world to teach us peace. You have the power and the strength to destroy God’s presence and image, His men, His women, and His children. Please listen to the will of God. God has created us to be loved by His love and not to be destroyed by our hatred.
In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread, but that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life which your weapons will cause.
I come to you in the name of God, the God what we all love and share, to beg for the innocent ones, our poor of the world and those who will become poor because of war. They are the ones who will suffer most because they have no means of escape…I beg you to save our brothers and sisters, yours and ours, because they are given to us by God to love and to cherish. It is not for us to destroy what God has given to us. Please, please let your mind and your will become the mind and will of God. You have the power to bring war into the world or to build peace. Please choose the way of peace…
I appeal to you – to your love, your love of God and your fellow men. In the name of God and in the name of those you will make poor, do not destroy life and peace. Let love and peace triumph and let your names be remembered for the good you have done, the joy you have spread and the love you have shared…
May God bless you now and always.
God Bless you,
M. Teresa, M.C.