Boise jeweler recalls time spent with Mother Teresa

Rick Harvey talked about the experience.

Most days, you'll find Rick Harvey creating custom pieces of jewelry at his store, Artsmith Jewelry, in Boise. It's a very different life that he led 22 years ago halfway around the world.

"I talked to my wife and we decided I had to go," said Harvey.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity - to travel to Calcutta, India with a group of about 13 people to work with Mother Teresa.

"She didn't meet with very many small groups but she would meet with this group as she was in Calcutta at the time," said Harvey. "She knew that the diseases of affluence are as deadly as the diseases of poverty."

The group spent eight days in Calcutta meeting with Mother Teresa daily and working in halfway houses and orphanages. On the first day, which was a Sunday, Harvey says they gathered for mass.

"They started to celebrate mass and I was looking over on one side there was this kind of lump of cloth it looked like," said Harvey. "And then after a little while I realized that was Mother Teresa. She had this sparkle in her eye and she was so alive."

In a group meeting with Mother Teresa, Harvey recalls her sitting down next to him. 

"She was tiny," said Harvey. "She had hands that seemed large because she was so small and she wore this huge cross hanging down from her side. Her feet were very broad and gnarly because she always wore sandals. She just had character in every part of her."

While in Calcutta, Harvey worked at what was known as the house of the destitute and dying. Here, he says his life was changed forever.

"I went as an arrogant American that thought I was going to take Christ to those people, and I found Christ there in the form of a boy," said Harvey. "He couldn't speak, I didn't think he could hear at first. But I fed him and it was the first time in my life that I was enough, and just feeding this boy I didn't have to be anything special, but I could help somebody."

And that, Harvey says, was Mother Teresa's mission.

"One of the things I wrote in my journal was after I had kissed her hand and she had blessed me, I wrote 'she walked away, moving towards sainthood' which I think we all knew she was. She was a living saint."

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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