Natural Family Planning: Nature's Way - God's Way

1. Mother Teresa on NFP

Planning Something Beautiful for God

The need for a reliable method of NFP among our people in Calcutta has been so great that the work of the Missionaries of Charity led by Sr. M. Paulette has grown beyond all expectations.

At present about twelve thousand couples are successfully receiving instruction and have been able to rear their families in dignity and happiness.

At the same time our educators and social workers, who are concerned with the total sphere of family welfare, have felt the need for guidance in other areas of family life such as the care and development of the child and the harmony of the parents.

Natural Family Planning involves acceptance by the couple of a way of life of conjugal harmony and devotion to their children, which makes of their life something beautiful for God.

The child has been created for great things, to love and to be loved to be God's gift of love to the world today. Through this child God keeps on loving the world.

To be fully the child of God, the child needs our love and care. To harm the child is an act against God's creation. That is why it is one of the great evils to murder the child in its mother's womb.

The family needs the child. For the family the child is the sunshine of God's love, the hope of eternal happiness.

God bless you. Mother Teresa M.C.

From the Foreword to the handbook Natural Family Planning and Family Life Education, Missionaries of Charity, 54 A, Lower Circular Road, Calcutta

Editor's Comment:

The latest count of her activities shows bow serious Mother Teresa is about promoting natural family planning among the poor. Sister Paulette writes from Calcutta that there are 108 centers in that city, with 120 educators; and 20 Sisters are in the field. They are trained and then sent to different parts of India to do the work. From 400 to 500 new cases are accepted each month. I am especially gratified that Mother Teresa expressed so well the spirit of NFP, which is neither anti-population nor anti-child. Our purpose is to help families, not to help governments carry out demographic policies.************

In 1967 the Missionaries of Charity received as a postulant a young Indian girl from Mauritius who had been well trained by two top specialists, Drs. Francois and Michele Guy, in the practice of the sympto-thermal method of birth control.

She started with seven couples in the Bedford Lane Area, who are still using this method today. It has brought real stability to their lives, and they are very happy and grateful for it .... In September 1969, under the guidance of Mother Teresa, the sisters visited families of all creeds, as they believe that every woman has a right to know the natural method which would help her to plan her family. During their visits the Sisters were able to meet both husband and wife. They showed them how the marvelous work of God is to be found in both of them. They taught them the anatomy and physiology of the female genital organs. They took pains to explain the fertile and infertile periods in the woman's cycle, and how she can detect these through self-examination and the use of the thermometer.

The Sisters visited that particular area every morning and evening; they met satisfaction as well as discouragement, but their faith and hope have helped them to eventually achieve success. The language was an obstacle. Also, couples cannot understand how Sisters can speak about such matters since they are not married. The people are now greatly edified and encouraged with this ray of hope.

The couples are amazed at how simple the method is. Once they know how to read the charts and to interpret their cycles, they become self-reliant, and the Sisters move on to guide other families. They have found that they have awakened in the husbands a greater understanding for their wives, and a renewed love now develops between the couples.

In many cases the husbands are the ones who take their wives to the center, since the women generally feel shy. The trust of the husband in the Sisters is such that he will ask the wife, every week, what advice the Sister has given. He will mark down the temperature in the chart for the wife. It is so nice to see them both sitting on the floor to write in the charts. Having learned it together, they in turn help other couples in the compound, teaching them the method. Many people wonder how poor couples can exercise self-control for more than one week. Yes, they do it; it is possible. It is, after all, their own choice. Some abstain for twenty days a month; others for one, two, and even three months. From our experience we find that it is more difficult for an educated couple to abstain than for a poor and illiterate couple. Why? Perhaps because the wealthy and educated couples have more comforts, and are more inclined to enjoy the good things of life.

From a report of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta on promotion of family life

We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace. But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, a direct murder by the mother herself. We who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents had done that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them. But what of the millions? Many people are very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa, where quite a number die of hunger. But millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is the greatest destroyer of peace today. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left to prevent me from killing you and you killing me? There is nothing ....

We are teaching our beggars, our leprosy patients, our slum dwellers, our people of the street, natural family planning. Our poor people understand. I think that if our people can do like that, how much more can you and all the others do. These are people who have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home in which to live, but they are great people. The poor are very wonderful people.

From Mother Teresa's Nobel lecture. Stockholm, December 11,1979.

Next Page: 2. A Gift That Lasts
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