Mother Teresa, who lived from 1910 to 1997, was a Roman Catholic nun originally from the Republic of Macedonia, but she chose India as her primary field of service. As an Albanian Catholic nun and the visionary founder of the Missionaries of Charity, her life’s purpose was profoundly centered on serving the underprivileged, the ill, and the impoverished. She carried out this noble mission through the Missionaries of Charity, a devoted congregation of Roman Catholic nuns, headquartered in Kolkata, India. Mother Teresa’s unwavering dedication to alleviating the suffering of the less fortunate continues to be a testament to her boundless compassion and remains an enduring symbol of humanitarianism.
Mother Teresa Biography Age, Career, Family, Education, and More
Born in Skopje, which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire, Mother Teresa embarked on a transformative journey at the age of 18 when she made her way to Ireland, and later to India, where she would spend the majority of her extraordinary life. Her profound wisdom resonates through her words when she declares, “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”The enduring legacy she crafted began with the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation that blossomed to encompass more than 4,500 dedicated nuns spanning 133 countries as of 2012. Within this congregation, Mother Teresa instilled a deep sense of purpose and compassion, establishing homes to provide solace and care to individuals afflicted by HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis.
Mother Teresa’s given name was Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, with “Anjezë” meaning “Agnes” in Albanian, and “Gonxhe” signifying “flower bud.” She was born into an Albanian family on August 26, 1910. Her father, Nikola Bojaxhiu, held the occupations of a construction contractor and a trader, while her mother, Dranafile Bojaxhiu, originated from a village near Gjakova. Anjezë, the youngest child of Nikollë and Dranafile Bojaxhiu (Bernai), grew up in a devout Catholic household, with her father fervently advocating for Albanian independence. Tragedy struck the family when Agnes was only eight years old; her father, Nikola, who had been involved in Albanian community politics in Ottoman North Macedonia, fell ill and tragically passed away in 1919. This early loss deeply affected young Agnes and marked a significant moment in her life. Anjezë had a profound bond with her mother, who was not only deeply religious but also committed to charitable acts of kindness. It was from her mother that Agnes likely inherited her compassionate and giving nature.
In the year 1928, Anjezë departed from her hometown of Skopje and embarked on a life-altering journey to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, housed within the Loreto Abbey located in Rathfarnham, Ireland. This Catholic institution was colloquially referred to as the Sisters of Loreto. This decision marked a significant turning point in her life, as it meant bidding farewell to her mother and sister, with the likelihood of never seeing them again. Upon her entry into the convent, she was bestowed with the name Sister Mary Teresa, a name honoring the revered Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Her family, meanwhile, continued to reside in Skopje until 1934 when they relocated to Tirana, further distancing her from her familial ties.
Call for Serving Humanity
Sent to Calcutta by her Sisterhood, Mother Teresa began her profound journey in the city. Her commitment to her faith and her calling was solidified on May 24, 1931, when she took her first religious vows. In reverence to Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, she chose the name Teresa for herself. Interestingly, as another nun had already adopted the name Thérèse, she opted for the Spanish spelling, Teresa. For approximately the next 15 years, Mother Teresa dedicated herself to teaching at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, now known as Kolkata. While she found fulfillment in her role as an educator, the dire poverty that enveloped the city increasingly troubled her compassionate heart. During her Final Profession of Vows on May 24, 1937, she wholeheartedly embraced a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, solidifying her unwavering commitment to her spiritual path. In 1946, during a train journey to Darjeeling, Mother Teresa experienced a profound inner calling, a divine mandate to serve the impoverished of India in the name of Jesus. With unrelenting determination, she set out on this mission, and gradually, recognition and support began to flow in from various quarters.
Missionaries of Charity
On September 10, 1946, a pivotal moment in Mother Teresa’s life unfolded, an event she later characterized as “the call within the call.” During her annual retreat, she embarked on a train journey from Calcutta to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling. It was during this journey that her profound inner calling became unmistakable. She and her Missionaries of Charity were gripped by a singular purpose: to provide unwavering care to those she described as “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.” In essence, she dedicated herself to the absolute neediest and most marginalized members of society, the poorest of the poor.
Mother Teresa’s deep commitment to her mission led her to adopt Indian citizenship, marking her dedication to serving the people of India. Prior to immersing herself in the challenging work ahead, she spent several months in Patna, where she underwent basic medical training at Holy Family Hospital. Equipped with this knowledge, she ventured into the heart of the slums, driven by an unwavering sense of purpose.
In the midst of adversity, her tireless efforts brought dignity and care to individuals who had been marginalized and forgotten. Those who came under her care received medical attention, ensuring that their last moments were characterized by compassion and respect. Following their passing, they were granted appropriate last rites, a testament to the belief that someone cared for them even in their most vulnerable moments.
To fortify the organization’s presence and promote the message of international brotherhood, Mother Teresa initiated the establishment of several entities. On the significant date of October 7, 1950, she obtained Vatican permission to form a diocesan congregation, which would ultimately evolve into the Missionaries of Charity. In her relentless pursuit of her humanitarian vision, Mother Teresa extended the scope of her mission. She founded the Missionaries of Charity for Brothers in 1963, followed by the Contemplative Branch of Sisters in 1976 and the Contemplative Branch of Brothers in 1979. As part of their compassionate outreach, the Missionaries of Charity established leprosy outreach clinics across Calcutta, offering vital medical care, dressings, and sustenance to those in need. This noble endeavor has since grown substantially.
The remarkable organization, to date, has extended its compassionate reach to encompass more than 100 countries around the world. In its early years, the congregation began to attract dedicated recruits and generous donations. By the 1960s, it had established a network of hospices, orphanages, and leper houses throughout India, solidifying its presence as a force for good. By the year 1997, the originally modest Calcutta congregation, which began with just 13 members, had burgeoned into an extraordinary community of more than 4,000 devoted sisters. These sisters took on a diverse array of roles, overseeing orphanages, AIDS hospices, and charity centers on a global scale. Their mission encompassed caring for a multitude of individuals, including refugees, the visually impaired, the disabled, the elderly, alcoholics, the impoverished, the homeless, as well as victims of floods, epidemics, and famine.
After 1980, Mother Teresa faced several significant health challenges, including two cardiac arrests. In 1983, during a visit to Pope John Paul II in Rome, she suffered a heart attack. Remarkably, despite these health issues, Mother Teresa continued to efficiently lead the Missionaries of Charity and its various branches. Her resilience was evident even after she fell and broke her collarbone in April 1996. Just four months later, she battled both malaria and heart failure. Unfortunately, her health continued to deteriorate, and on September 5, 1997, she passed away. On March 13, 1997, Mother Teresa had already resigned as the head of the Missionaries of Charity, marking the end of her remarkable journey.
Awards and Recognitions
In 1979, Mother Teresa was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for her tireless efforts in addressing poverty and alleviating suffering, which she saw as a significant threat to peace. In her Nobel lecture, she expanded on this idea by emphasizing the unique challenges of addressing poverty, not just in impoverished nations but also in the wealthier West. She shared her perspective, saying, “When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person who is isolated, who feels unwelcome, unloved, and terrified, a person who has been cast out from society—this form of poverty is deeply painful and pervasive, and I find it very challenging to address.” Mother Teresa’s work was widely acknowledged, and she received numerous awards and honors throughout her lifetime, including the Padma Shree in 1962 and the Bharat Ratna in 1980.
Social and political views
Mother Teresa emphatically identified abortion as “the greatest destroyer of peace today,” emphasizing her belief that if a mother could choose to end her own child’s life, it raised disturbing questions about the sanctity of human life and the potential for violence among people. Her entire life and dedicated work served as a testament to her unwavering commitment to the profound joy of love, the inherent greatness and dignity of every individual, the significance of faithfully performing small acts with love, and the immeasurable value of a deep spiritual connection with God.
Saint Teresa, guided by her profound love and compassion, held the belief that every interaction should leave a person feeling improved and happier. She discovered this transformative power through prayer and the serene contemplation of Jesus Christ, his Holy Face, and his Sacred Heart. In the spirit of this philosophy, Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa was established. Despite her public image of unwavering faith and dedication, Mother Teresa privately grappled with doubts and spiritual turmoil that persisted for nearly five decades, extending until the end of her life. May all who enter these doors discover the opportunity for a brighter and more joyful future. This mission aligns with the life’s work of the individual who dedicated a significant portion of their life to serving the impoverished, with a special focus on those afflicted by leprosy.
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|Birth Place||Skopje, North Macedonia|
|Height In CM||152 CM|
|Height In Meter||1.52 M|
|Parents||Father : Nikollë Bojaxhiu Mother :Dranafile Bojaxhiu|
|Profession||Teacher, Missionary, Nun|
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