Mother Teresa – The Living Saint
Mother Teresa was revered as a living saint, who won the heart of everyone through her selfless service to mankind. Once, when she was asked about her work, she said, “If there are poor on the moon, we shall go there too.“
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910. Her hometown was Skopje Yogoslavia. She was born to an Albanian couple. Her original name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Her father was the owner of a grocery shop. They were a devoted Roman Catholic family.
After finishing school at the age of 18, Agnes became a nun, and then she changed her name to Teresa. Further, she joined the community of Irish nuns called the Sisters of Loreto. This community has a mission in Calcutta (Kolkata), India. Teresa received training in Dublin, Ireland, and Darjeeling, India. She took her first religious vows in 1828 and final vows in 1937.
Mother Teresa came to India as a teacher at St. Mary’s School at Entally in Calcutta in 1928, leaving her family behind and lived here forever. She realized that her fight would have to be against poverty, ignorance, and disease. She herself went out on the roads of Calcutta and picked up helpless and poor people.
Missionaries of Charity
Teresa took intensive medical training with the American Medical Missionary Sisters in Patna, India. She used to go to slums regularly with food and medicines. She gathered children from the slums of Calcutta and started teaching them.
In 1948, sister Teresa began her missionary work with the poor, replacing her usual dress of a nun with a simple white sari with a blue border. In the same year, Sister Teresa became Mother Teresa and took Indian citizenship. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and established the Motherhouse on Acharya Jagadish Bose Road, Calcutta, where it is still the headquarter of what has become a worldwide operation. In 1950, the Missionary of Charity received official status as a religious community from the Vatican.
Its mission is to care for, in her own words, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”.
Mother Teresa was moved at the plight of lepers. In 1957, the Missionaries of Charity began to work with lepers. Soon, Mother Teresa opened a hospital called Shanti Nagar (city of peace) for leprosy patients. The Missionaries of Charity also set up many leprosy outreach clinics throughout Calcutta, providing medication, bandages, and food. They also slowly expanded their educational work. they opened a home for orphans and abandoned children. They later spread their services to other parts of India and the world.
Mother Teresa started her work with just five rupees. Later her work expanded to 750 centers in 125 countries. She explained to the people that leprosy is not contagious. At Titagarh, she founded a Leprosy Ashram and named it after Mahatma Gandhi. She founded ‘Nirmol Hridoy’ (home for the sick and the dying). Those brought to the home receive medical attention and are offered the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the ritual of their faith. She also founded ‘Shishu Bhavan’ (home for the disabled and mentally challenged) and many other organizations to serve humanity.
In 1970, Mother Teresa’s group opened branches in Jordan (Amman), England (London), and the United States of America (Harlem, New York City). More than 1,000 nuns of her group operated 60 centers in Calcutta and ore than 200 centers worldwide.
In 1971, she opened a home for women in Bangladesh, these women were those who were raped by soldiers of Pakistan during the war. In 1988, the mother sent her Missionaries of Charity to Russia. They also opened a home for AIDS patients in San Francisco and other places. These centers provide education and medical aid to people suffering from a fatal disease. Mother Teresa also assisted and served the hungry in Ethiopia, radiation victims at Chernobyl, and earthquake victims in Armenia. In 1991, she returned for the first time to her homeland and opened missionaries of charity Brothers in Albania. Throughout her life, she cared for the destitute and the dying. She showed how faith and compassion lend meaning to such missions.
mother Teresa received many national and international awards. Her noble service won her recognition all over the world. In 1962, the Ramon Magsaysay Award was bestowed on her for her work in South East Asia. In 1962, she was given Padma Shri by the Indian Government. In 1964, when Pope Paul VI visited India, he gave her his ceremonial limousine. But she raffled it to bring finance for her leper colony.
Mother Teresa received other awards too in recognition of her apostolate. On January 6, 1972, she was awarded the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. In 1972, she receives the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Peace. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and the Bharat Ratna in 1980.
While visiting Pope John Paul II in 1983, Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack in Rome. After the second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. She stepped down as the head of Missionaries of Charity on March 13, 1997.
Mother passed away on September 5, 1997, in Calcutta. Her holy body was buried in the Mother House, the headquarter of the Order of Missionaries of Charity.
After Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, the Vatican has started the process of her beatification. This process required the documentation of a miracle performed from Mother Teresa’s intervention. The beatification of Mother Teresa took place on October 19, 2003, thereby bestowing upon her the title “Blessed”.
On August 28, 2010, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of her birth, the Government of India issued five rupee coin, it is the sum she used when she first arrived in India. Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said of Mother Teresa “Clad in a white sari with a blue border, she and the sisters of Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of hope to many – the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill and those abandoned by their families.
Mother believed that life is a mission to serve the suffering humanity. when once asked, how the service to mankind would continue after her, she replied, “I have done for God, to God, and with God, and it is God’s work. He is perfectly capable of finding someone when I am gone somebody who is even smarter.”
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.”
She was the inspiration to millions for her devotion to the needy and vulnerable people, she donated her everything to the poor.
Some of the best quotes by Mother Teresa which will inspire you to become a better person.
- Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
- We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
- Love is a fruit in season at all times and within the reach of every hand.
- Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great Love.
- A life not lived for others is not a life.
- Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without being tired.
- If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
- If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
- If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love & compassion.
- I don’t know what God is doing. He knows. We do not understand, but one thing I’m sure, he doesn’t make a mistake.
- Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.