EMMITSBURG -- Mother Teresa came to this small town in Western Maryland last night and urged a crowd of about 2,000 people to serve the poor and pray for those with AIDS.
"So many young people with AIDS are coming to us. Pray that we continue this work with great love," the 85-year-old Nobel Prize-winning missionary from Calcutta told the crowd gathered at Mount St. Mary's seminary.
Members of her order -- the Missionaries of Charity -- are establishing several houses in the United States for people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
"I want no one to die in distress. I want them to die in peace with God," she said. "Pray for our brothers and sisters with AIDS, that all these young people die in peace with God."
Mother Teresa is visiting the United States because 15 members of the Missionaries of Charity are taking their final vows in Washington.
She came to Emmitsburg at the invitation of the seminary, home to 165 men studying for the priesthood. Seminarians from Mount St. Mary's have supported Mother Teresa's missions for decades. The seminary's student government association gave her a Santa Claus suit to take back to India today.
The frail, diminutive nun's presence made an impression on those who saw her here.
"She's small, but such a big presence," said Amy O'Toole, a sophomore at Mount St. Mary's High School. Her classmate, Sharon McShane, said, "She's a role model trying to show the rest of us what we should be doing."
During her 30-minute talk, Mother Teresa spoke frequently of her mission to the dying. She recalled a man who lived like an animal in the streets of Calcutta, but told her he knew he would die like an angel in her hospice.
"He died with a beautiful smile on his face because he knew he was coming home to God," Mother Teresa said.
She began the order of sisters in 1950 in Calcutta. Now, the nuns operate 450 missions, including many orphanages. The winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa visited Baltimore three years ago when her sisters opened an AIDS mission at St. Wenceslaus Church on Ashland Avenue.
"Mother Teresa has been aware for many years of the Mount seminary and what it is doing," said Frank Buhrman, spokesman for the college and seminary. "There is a long-standing relationship between our faculty and the missionaries."
Last night, she also held a private audience and said prayers with the seminarians.
"It was the most amazing experience of my life," said Michael Post, a junior president of the campus ministry.
Among those who attended last night was Trista Montero, 17, who was born in Calcutta and lived in Mother Teresa's orphanage for the first eight months of her life before being adopted by an American couple.
"I know if it weren't for the sisters of Charity I wouldn't be here today," Trista said. "I came to see her and to hear her. I would love to meet her. That would be the greatest gift ever."