The woman who met Mother Theresa

By: Cristina Santiago – Sophomore, pre-medicine/Spanish

I have come to realize that every person carries a story.

From the person that sits next to you in class to your next-door neighbor, we all have had certain experiences worth telling. Being a curious person, I have always wondered what people’s stories are.

Interestingly, the other day I met a girl whose story was definitely worth telling.

As I was working in Dr. Singh’s Lab here at UD, I had the opportunity to talk to Ankita Sarkar.

Sarkar, a native of India, is currently a biology lab teaching assistant. In India, she received a degree in engineering. Upon graduating, she became interested in learning more about genetics. This interest convinced her to pack her bags, travel to the other side of the world, and move to the wonderful city of Dayton.

Interestingly, her new adventure, and my interest in working in a laboratory, intertwined the common thread of our lives.

These events even granted us the opportunity to meet and converse with each other.

Last Friday, I had a deeper conversation with Sarkar. Conversation topics ranged from food, behaviors, dating and religion. Out of everything we talked about, I was very touched by Sarkar’s point of view on religion.

Sarkar believes that we all believe in the same God, we just call him different names.

Not only did her comment impress me she stopped to show me a silver medallion that was hanging from her neck.
Casually speaking Sarkar said, “Mother Theresa gave it to me.”

Astounded, it literally took me more than a second to process what she had just said. I couldn’t believe it.

Sarkar laughed at the poker face I expressed. Afterwards I couldn’t help but to exclaim, “You met Mother Theresa?!”

Sarkar had met Mother Theresa when she was little. Her parents used to help out in the area that Mother Theresa worked.
Mother Theresa, wanting to find a way to thank them, approached Sarkar’s family and gave Ankita her medallion.

Sarkar admits that at that moment, she didn’t see why Mother Theresa was such a big deal. It was not until she grew older that she began to understand impact Mother Theresa had made in the world.

When we were about to finish our conversation, I told Sarkar that she was honestly one of the coolest people I have met on campus.

She smiled and said in a prayer-like manner: “Thank you, Mother Theresa, for making me cool.”