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Remarks on the Death of Mother Teresa and an Exchange With Reporters in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

September 05, 1997

The President. With the passing of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the world has lost one of the giants of our time. She served the poor, the suffering, and the dying, and in so doing, she served as an inspiration and a challenge to all the rest of us. With the power of her humble and unconquerable faith, she touched the lives of millions of people in India, here in the United States, and throughout the world.

Like anyone who ever met her, I was profoundly moved by her conviction and her courage. Hillary had the privilege of working with Mother Teresa and her community to open a home for abandoned babies in Washington, and later she and Chelsea had the opportunity to see her and her community work firsthand in India.

The home for the dying she opened in Calcutta almost 50 years ago is called Nirmal Hriday, Pure Heart. If ever there was a pure heart, it was hers. Mother Teresa is gone, but the Gospel teaches us that faith, hope, and love endure. She had them in abundance, and they will stay with us forever.

Deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa

Q. Mr. President, this has been quite a week for the loss of meaningful women. Any comment—[inaudible]——

The President. Well, you know Hillary is going to leave in just a—well, a couple of hours now, maybe even shorter, to fly to London to the funeral of Princess Diana. And I think the world has been profoundly moved by that. And obviously, hundreds of millions of people around the world looked up to Mother Teresa and admired her. I think it will be a time of great reflection, and I hope a time of rededication.

I think all of us were deeply moved by the pictures today from London of Princess Diana's sons and Prince Charles and the royal family greeting the mourners and beginning the sort of public healing process, along with the private one. And I think tomorrow will be a sad but a very important and positive day.

Q. Do you think there might be a chance the First Lady might go to Mother Teresa's funeral?

The President. I don't know. I just heard.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:30 p.m. at the Richard Friedman residence.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on the Death of Mother Teresa and an Exchange With Reporters in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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