Missionary’s life all about heart

25 Mar 2009

By The Record

A Perth student who went on to become a priest with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity returned to his old school on March 6 and spoke about his life in one of the best known Catholic Religious orders in the world.

Fr Stephen McGuckin with students.

























Fr Stephen McGuckin MC, who graduated with the school’s class of 1983, was invited back to La Salle College in Viveash for the inaugural community gathering of the Principal’s Prayer Breakfast.
There, he spoke to about 50 staff, students and family members about his own vocation and the daily routine of serving the poorest of the poor.
“The missionaries will be this morning walking the streets of Calcutta with a bucket of water, shaver and some food,” he said.
“They walk until they find those less fortunate to give them a wash, provide them with clothes, if needed, a shave and then give them what is available to eat”.
He told those present that hearts are touched not by what is done, but by how it is done.
“It is not how much we provide and what we can provide, it is the way in which it is given,” he said.
While he now travels India giving talks to young men discerning whether they have a vocation to the priesthood, Fr Stephen previously worked in Calcutta for Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity Sisters and currently continues to serve the poorest of the poor beside the Sisters.
Fr Stephen only visits Perth,   where his family resides, every five years and the College was fortunate to have him attend and give a blessing to the community.
As a student at La Salle he carried in his heart a suspicion that God was calling him to become a priest.  At the same time, he discovered an increasing love of Mother Teresa and her missionary work.
After an electrical apprenticeship with his father’s family business, Stephen was given opportunities to work in the north and centre of Australia as an electrician. He was an enthusiastic footballer and an active member of the Catholic Youth Ministry. 
After meeting John Daly, now Fr John, at a Day of Enquiry to the Priesthood at St Charles Seminary in Guildford, they both agreed to travel together to work as volunteers for a year in Calcutta for Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity.  There, he fulfilled his dream of meeting and working with the now Blessed Sister.
With his suspicion getting stronger, he returned to Calcutta and later backpacked through Europe, tracing his Norwegian and Swedish family heritage. In Rome he stayed with the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, experiencing their life for a while and it was there that he turned his suspicion into a decision.
After one more visit home, he left Perth with a small box of possessions to begin his priestly studies in Tijuana, Mexico, at the Missionaries of Charity Seminary.
He studied, worked and was ordained to the Diaconate at the MC Fathers’ mission in Guatemala.
Returning to Rome, he was ordained priest in the Church of St Gregory the Great in 2003.
The Missionaries of Charity Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, take four vows: poverty, obedience, chastity and wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor.
Following the charism of Mother Teresa, the priests and sisters possess only two sets of clothing and live as the poor do in all the countries wherever they live.
Fr Steve is now in Calcutta serving with the MC Sisters as part of the Sacramental branch of that family. Missionaries of Charity sisters work in the Archdiocese of Perth, including Kalgoorlie.