Longtime Ocean City resident Jim Plousis was in the presence of Pope Francis for the second time recently, when he and several family members traveled to Rome as Mother Teresa was declared a saint.
The former U.S. Marshal and Cape May County Sheriff helped with security during the pope’s 2015 visit to Philadelphia. He and several family members joined about 29 people from New Jersey on a weeklong trip organized by Msgr. Michael Mannion, a longtime Plousis family friend.
Mother Teresa, now known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was a Roman Catholic nun and missionary best known for founding the Missions of Charity, which began in India and now serves the poor in 133 countries.
“Father Mike had worked with Mother Teresa back in the’70s,” Plousis said, in an interview after his return home to Ocean City. He said he and others in the group were honored to tour the convent where she lived while in Rome, and to see her humble quarters.
“It was no bigger than a cell,” he said. “Honestly, you could feel the peacefulness of that room.”
Plousis’ son Jim also went on the trip, as well as his brother Mark Plousis and Mark’s daughter Julia, his brother Drew and his wife Sue of Hilton Head, S.C., and Michele Chamberlin.
On Saturday, they attended a special blessing by Pope Francis, and on Saturday, they were at St. Peter’s Square among tens of thousands as Francis declared her a saint.
Plousis believes he may have been one of the few in that huge, packed square who had also traveled to the saint’s birthplace.
In 2010, he traveled to Albania, landing at Mother Teresa Airport, and traveling to the small village of Skopje, “a three hour rough ride into the mountains on the border of Macedonia,” as Plousis described it.
He described the visit to Rome as deeply moving.
“No matter what religion you are, Mother Teresa touched people around the world,” he said. “She really had an impact.”