Mother Teresa : A Short Biography

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Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu also known as ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’, was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia to Albanian heritage. She was a catholic nun and missionary. She received the Nobel Peace Prize for her charitable works in 1979. Mother Teresa is known as one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century.

After having lived in Macedonia for eighteen years, Agnes left home in September 1928, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. She joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, Ireland to learn English. She received the name of ‘Teresa’ after St. Therese of Lisieux.

Agnes arrived in Darjeeling, India one year later in 1929 and joined the novitiate of the Sisters of Lorento. She took her religious vows as a Lorento nun in 1931 and choosing the name Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and was called Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa began her years of service to poor people. She taught at St. Mary’s High School to girls in Calcutta. from 1931 to 1948 and was appointed the school’s principal in 1944. She learned the local language, Bengali, and Hindi.

While traveling by train on 10th September 1946 from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she experienced which she believes “the call from within” to fulfill His desire of serving the ‘poorest of the poor while living among  them’ completely transformed her life completely. In 1948, she was deeply affected by the suffering, misery and poverty in Calcutta and decided to leave the school and dedicate her life to working for the poorest in the slums of Calcutta. She donned a white and blue sari and began her missionary work and started open-air slum as initially she ad no funds. Soon voluntary helpers and donations started pouring in From India and across the globe.

On 7 October 1950, Mother Teresa received Vatican permission to officially erect the new congregation, “The Missionaries of Charity” whose aim  was to care for the poor and needy and all those people who feel unwanted for throughout society. Over the course, she expanded her work by establishing a string of health clinics including a leper colony, nursing home etc. Both within Calcutta and throughout India. On February 6th, 1965, the society was granted the Decree of Praise to the Congregation, by Pope Paul VI.

The first international foundation was opened in Cocorote, Venezuela, in the year 1965 and later until 1980, it was expanded across the globe as opened houses Austraila, Middle East and North America,  Latin America in London as well as Rome, Tanzania, and Austria, Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.

There were 158 charity foundations by the society in 1979, the same year Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize. The charity opened houses in Croatia, and in East Berlin  and  continued to expand through the 1980s and 1990s  including Africa, Albania, Cuba, and war-torn Iraq. The foundation slowly expanded the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries.

The “Missionaries of Charity” which was established with twelve members has numbered nearly 4,500 sisters and established in almost 133 countries  across six continents. They run orphanages, schools, homes and hospices for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis, soup-kitchen as well as mobile clinics and various dispensaries, counseling programs, charity centers worldwide and caring for the disabled, blind, alcoholics, the poor, homeless, refugees and victims of natural disasters such as d=famine, epidemics, earthquake and floods.

Mother Teresa was awarded various honors and awards for her effective charity work. The jewel of India,  Pope John XXIII Peace Prize,  Ramon Magsaysay Award, Nehru Prize for Promotion of International Peace & Understanding, Balzan Prize,  Bharat Ratna as well as she was  awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mother Teresa died on 5th September 1997 at the age of 87. She was granted state funeral by the Indian government for her services to the poor and mankind. Her official biography was written by Navin Chawla, Indian civil servant  and published in 1992. On 19th October 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul Ii and designated as the ‘Blessed Teresa Of Calcutta’.  A second miracle paved the way for her to be recognized by Pope Francis as a saint  in December 2015 and her canonization is scheduled for 4th September 2016 by the Vatican.

Mother Teresa said, “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

Below are famous ‘Mother Teresa’ quotes:

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Peace begins with a smile.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

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