Born: August 26, 1910
Passed Away: 5 September, 1997
Teresa was a true follower of humanity. Many people considered Mother as
the "reincarnated form of Lord Jesus". Mother Teresa devoted
her entire life in serving the needy and abandoned people of the
society. Although her mission started in India, she succeeded in
bringing the people of all societies under one roof, i.e. humanity.
Besides the Nobel Peace Prize, she was also awarded with Ramon Magsaysay
and Padmashri Award for her social works.
The original name of Mother Teresa was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was
born in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on 26 August, 1910. In 1919,
when she was eight years old, Agnes lost her father, a noted politician
in Albania. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the "call of
God" and wanted to spread the love of Christ. Her religious
foundation developed further and in 1928, she left Skopje to join the
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ireland. The institution was
popularly known as Sisters of Loreto. There, she received the name
Sister Mary Teresa. After a training of around six months in Dublin, the
capital of Ireland, Teresa was sent to India. On 24 May, 1931 she took
her initial vows as a nun.
For around next 15 years, Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High
School in Calcutta, now Kolkata. She also became the principal of the
school. On 10 September, 1946, while traveling to Darjeeling,
North-Bengal, for the annual retreat Mother realized "the call
within call". She felt as if the Jesus was asking her to come out
of the walls and serve the down-trodden people. The feeling was so
intense that on 17 August, 1947, Mother dressed in white, blue bordered
sari left the Convent. In December 1950, Mother for the first time
visited the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she started an
open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by many voluntary
organizations, which provided Mother, a crucial financial support.
Later, on 7 October, 1950, Mother established the Missionaries of
Charity in Calcutta. The primary objective of the Missionaries of
Charity was to love and care for weak and downtrodden persons in the
society. In 1965, the Pope Paul VI granted a Decree of Praise and
allowed Mother Teresa to expand her congregation to other countries.
Now, the Society became an International Religious Family. Following the
decree, the society opened its branches in many countries of the world
including some influential erstwhile communist nations.
To strengthen the organization and spread the message of international
brotherhood, Mother Teresa opened a few more organisations. She founded
the Missionaries of Charity for brothers in 1963, Contemplative Branch
of Sisters in 1976 and Contemplative Branch of Brothers in 1979,
Missionaries of Charity
Missionaries of Charity was formed by Mother Teresa in 1950. Today, it
consists of over 4,000 nuns. The organization, so far, has expanded its
wings to over 100 countries. The objective of the Missionaries of
Charity is to provide care and support to the sick, mentally ill, aged,
victims of incorrigible diseases, and abandoned children. The
Missionaries of Charity has opened around 20 homes in Calcutta including
a school for street children.
People from across the globe have appreciated the work and dedication
of Mother Teresa. She received numerous awards including the Nobel Peace
Prize (1991), Ramon Magsaysay Award and Padmashri Award (1962). The
honor and appreciation, Mother Teresa received could not be measured in
terms of awards and prizes. The real awards came from the people she
served and worked with.
Her Last Days
After 1980, Mother suffered some serious health problems including two
cardiac arrests. Despite the problems, Mother herself governed the
Missionaries of Charity and its branches, as efficiently as earlier. In
April 1996, Mother Teresa fell and broke her collar bone. Since then,
Mother's health started declining. On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa
In 2002, Pope John Paul II confirmed the decrees to Mother's
canonization. On 19 October, 2003 the Pope beatified the Mother before a
huge crowd at St. Peter's square, Vatican City.