(Editor’s note: On the occasion of the canonization of Mother Teresa, we reprint a 2013 column from Ralph Benko, our senior advisor, economics, from Forbes.com about his 1979 personal encounter with her.)
My close encounter with Mother Teresa was a chance one, in 1979. This chance encounter taught me everything I know about good macroeconomic policy.
I, a young law student, was standing on 41st Street, by the Port Authority bus terminal in New York City, one afternoon. I was waiting to be met by my then girlfriend. I held three roses purchased for her inside the terminal.
She was late. I walked down the long, deserted, New York City block looking for her. And then I walked back. Walking in the opposite direction was a small party: a priest, a monk, a nun dressed in white, and a tiny old woman, her face weather-beaten and lined, dressed in a coarse brown robe. I thought to myself, “the tiny woman sure looked like Mother Teresa.”
It did not immediately click. I was under the impression that Mother Teresa was far away in Calcutta. It never occurred to me that she traveled. She having been on the cover of Time Magazine, a few years before, under the headline “Living Saints,” I assumed her an international celebrity always thronged by crowds. Destined for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Now beatified.) I thought, based on the Time cover illustration, her to be 6 feet tall. So far away….
A priest, a monk, a nun, and … who else could it be? Continue Reading