In 1969, a film crew arrived in Calcutta, India, prepared to shoot a documentary on Mother Teresa and her work with the destitute, often found lying in filth along city streets. Under the direction of BBC journalist Malcom Muggeridge, the crew intended to film inside a home for the destitute. One scene was to be shot inside a dark building where the Sisters brought in the dying. The camera man shook his head, studied the dim light, and realized that the scene would be useless. They had not brought portable lighting to the hospice.
“Film it anyway,” Muggeridge said.
When they developed the film, a surprising image appeared.
“Actually, to the astonishment of all concerned, it came out bathed in an exquisite luminosity,” Muggeridge said. “Some of Mother Teresa’s light had got into it.”
The incident had a profound effect on Muggeridge, once an atheist, yet a man who was drawn to study spirituality. In 1967, his curiosity inspired him to interview Mother Teresa for a BBC television show. It was so popular that he decided to create a documentary on the Missionaries of Charity and their work in Calcutta. His documentary and book Something Beautiful for God helped to bring Mother Teresa and her missionary work to world-wide fame.
He once wrote about the mysterious incident that occurred filming at the hospice. “Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying is overflowing with love. One senses this immediately on entering it. This love is luminous, like the haloes that artists have made visible around the heads of saints. I found it not at all surprising that this luminosity registered on the film.”
Muggeridge converted to Catholicism in 1982 at the age of 79.
Mother Teresa was canonized in 2016. Her feast day is celebrated on September fifth.