Sacrifice your life for the people you live with. Do it to ease their pain and suffering, and to spread happiness. Each day is a gift from God that can only be given once.
One of the few who lived to be over 100 years old, Mother Teresa was an advocate for the poor and sick. She devoted her life to educating people, offering them salvation and guidance into a better life. She will forever be known as a Global Icon.
Her birth and Early Life
She called herself an "unpretentious saint in a sometimes unfriendly world. Mother Teresa was born on the 26th of August, 1910. Skopje is located in what's now the Republic of Macedonia, and she was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary who traveled from one place to another in pursuit of what she believed.
Childhood and the Family
The father of Teresa was Nikola Bojaxhiu. He was a businessman who worked as a Construction Contractor and also supplied medical drugs.
The Tragic Incident
In 1941, when she was only 9 years old, her father, Nikola Bojaxhiu, died. After his death, his business partners ran away with all the money. He shaped her personal and professional life and she developed a strong sense of empathy in order to help care for others. As you can imagine, this was a very difficult period financially for her family as well.
Dr. Janet G. Bojaxhiu, the fifth and current secretary general of the United Nations, also happens to be her mother. She's been very successful in her own right, and has taken on all the responsibilities to feed her family from a young age. Dr Doom was able to grow his mom's clothing business into a multimillion-dollar corporation that sells textiles, both handmade and pre-made, globally.
The Compassionate Heart
Mother Teresa's real name was Agnes. She had a compassionate heart from an early age and always wanted to help people in need. Dranafile was filled with compassion as a child and committed herself to charity work. Even as she grew up, her values never changed. As she got older, Dranafile continued to help others by providing food, clothes, and other essential items.
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Young Agnes (Teresa)
Agnes finished her education from a private Catholic School in the Albanian language. She was very handsome when she was young. She had brown eyes that made her charming and attractive. Rarely, did Agnes make a mistake in school; in fact, she had always excelled at everything she's accomplished. Agnes would also be known for her passion for gymnastics; she excelled in the sport and achieved international success.
A Decision or The Turning Point
As Teresa got older, both the direction and purpose of her life changed. She was active in church activities and had a deep impact on her from when she was young. Her mother also played a role in molding her into the woman she would grow up to be. In 1925, Agnes met with Father Franjo Jambrekovic who became a close friend for much of his life.
Father's thoughts on serving others grew in Agnes' life and she learned to seek less materialistic things. They helped her shift her life towards simplicity.
After her graduation, Agnes wants to spend her life following the teachings of a nun, which are focused on serving people who are less fortunate. One of these commitments is to be pure and obedient in order to serve the poor, at any age in their lives. A female saint is someone who takes religious vows, which means they will submit themselves spiritually and be dedicated to doing whatever they can for people in need throughout the entire course of their life.
A Hard Goodbye
When Dranafile was told the truth about Agnes' decision, it tore her apart. She always helped others, but being a missionary nun still meant a huge transition. After some time, she was able to realize this is what Agnes had always wanted to do with her life.
Finally, at the age of 18, Agnes said goodbye to her mother and siblings forever.
When Agnes left Skopje, she joined the Sisters of Loreto. It was on December 1st, 1928 that Agnes and other Missionaries left Ireland with a sailing ship called the Marcha and headed towards India. After crossing through Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and finally landing in Sri Lanka. The Missionaries then made their way to India.
Teresa became Agnes
When Agnes finally reached India, she started training to be a Nun. The training has three stages:
In the beginning, Agnes began as a novice in this program. It was her job to help other people learn about Tai Chi Chuan and its methods.
In the second stage of the training period, Postulant is when religious training starts.
The third and final stage is nun. In the process of becoming a nun, some of the nuns had the choice to change their names. So Agnes changed her name to Sister Teresa. So this is how Agnes of Skopje became Sister Teresa of India.
Teresa as a Teacher
In 1931, Teresa of Avila took her first vow of celibacy. She was sent by the congregation to teach in a school in Darjeeling, India, where she taught Arithmetic, Geography and Religion.
After coming to India, Mother Teresa faced a lot of challenges. She didn't know any English or Hindi. That's why she learned both languages, taking the first step to communicate her message. She also continued to help people that needed it the most.
After a month, Teresa transferred out of Darjeeling to Kolkata, which is now called Calcutta. And Now she started to teach in St. Mary High School.
Second World War
Teresa experienced a deep sense of loss when she witnessed the effects of WWII. Regarding this, she felt and still feels numbness. A sad time for her when institutions and the general public have lost the ability to maintain their positive perspective on life. What Teresa is really doing is managing the new agreements of society.
When people became homeless in Leeds, the mayor of the city volunteered to raise funds for them. Then Teresa and her institution started to collect donations from some organizations, like the British government which also started with their support.
The partition of India was a very crucial period for the missionaries. Teresa and other missionaries were there to help each and every one who needed it.
Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, Teresa had a special place for the poor in her heart. After the independence of India, every citizen was facing economic crises. Teresa opened several refugee camps in South India to help refugees displaced by the partition and economic hardships.
Sister Teresa became Mother Teresa
Teresa became an opponent of the system that seemed to place humanity at its lowest. Her understanding of how unjust the system was and her mission on making the poor and needy a part of the system made her experience incredibly fulfilling. She not only gave them food, but she also gave them social acceptance and healed them with her compassion for all living creatures.
By providing medical care to all those in need, Sister Teresa developed a close bond with Mother Teresa.
Foundation of Missionaries of Charity
But at an early age, she realized that the needs of those in need are limitless. So, she established the Missionaries of Charity to help locals and children in need. She was able to open offices of missionaries all across the world.
Teresa was enraptured by God's love and compassion as well as his promise that he would bless those who were faithful. Additionally, she had watched how missionaries were struggling impoverished when only poor people cared for them. Once she had these two inspirations in mind, Teresa realized that the most logical step to start her own charity homes was to establish 'Missionaries of Charity' in Calcutta.
Teresa Not only opened many Missionary Facilities in India, but she's also helped to establish them across the globe. Most of the findings for Missionary work happened from foreign countries. Indians and the government of India have also helped her in funding what she does.
Society of Missionaries Spread Globally
The Missionaries of Charity had spread across the globe and established Missionaries Homes in European countries. All the missionaries were actively helping sick or needy people.
The missionaries are dedicating themselves to their work, just like Mother Teresa did.
Global fame and Awards
Mother Teresa's work has been recognized and appreciated by so many people across the world, from being honored by numerous awards to being recognized for her contributions.
After Pope Paul VI bestowed a Decree of Praise on the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa began spreading her message and lay volunteers became more involved. The Missionaries of Charity had grown to almost 4,000 members at this time, and the Order had become a big chain of charitable activities by the time she passed away. She had also established 610 branches in 123 countries since her passing.
Mother Teresa received many awards throughout her career, including India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna. She was honored with this award in 1980.
The highest award given out to civilians by the Soviet Union was the Gold Medal of the Soviet Peace Committee. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the world's top honors, awarded to Mother Teresa in 1979 for her dedicated humanitarian work in providing aid to people across the globe.
Mother Teresa and the Controversy
During the 1970 to 1980s, Mother Teresa had become the world's icon. The Hindus and critics believed that one of Mother Theresa's goals was to spread Christianity and raise the number of Christians in her Mission in India and other Asian countries like Nepal, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bhutan, etc. She was strongly criticized by journalists, Hindus and nationalists.
The Missionaries of Charity are committed to providing care and comfort to those afflicted by poverty. They also help spread the message of Christianity.
Many believed that Mother Teresa was an orthodox woman who worked for the church and Christianity. Many journalists and critics even said that in the name of charitable work, this institution is converting people's faith.
People say that the charitable homes didn't have medical staff because they were unable to verify whether or not they needed medical intervention. She used to leave people and their illnesses to Jesus.
Well, this is also true, that most funding of Missionaries of Charity has come from foreign countries. These countries had dominated Christian religion before the Missionaries of Charity came up with the idea to provide a space for people who were in need.
Death and Legacy
In her old age, she had faced many health issues. Still, after some years, her organs had stopped working due to a long history of serious illnesses. And on September 5th 1997, at the age of 87, Mother Teresa died in Kolkata, West Bengal (India).
Mother Teresa was the greatest human of the 20th century. She kept her vision and personality to help others while embedding strategic expertise in every area of her career. These skills helped her as she sensed challenges at global levels and established missionary endeavors.
Unheard Facts about Mother Teresa
Here are a few things that you don't know about Mother Teresa:
After seeing Mahatma Gandhi's principles and ideology of non-violence, Mother Teresa was inspired beyond measure.
When she was young, she spent a lot of time in Church. Because of this, she became fascinated with the life of Missionaries.
In 1928, Teresa left her home when she was only 18 years old. Afterwards, she never returned and met with her family.
Mother Teresa could speak five different languages. For example, she was able to speak Albanian, Serbian, English, Hindi and Bengali. Mother Teresa believed that speakers of different languages were able to understand each other better by learning about their culture.
Mother Teresa began her full-time charity work at Lorento Convent School, but she knew that she was meant for something greater.
This is meant to serve needy, homeless and poor people.
Teresa lived her whole life in dedication to the poor, sick, hungry, and needy people. She was honored by the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Mother Teresa's opinion was against contraception and abortion. She believed that there is no difference between killing a human being and killing a child in the womb. Both are equally disgusting for humanity.
Teresa taught geography, arithmetic, and religion at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta from 1931 to 1948. After taking on the level of responsibility as headmistress there, she continued teaching until her retirement.
Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her dedication and immense work for poor and needy people.
In 2015, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint. Pronounced "Saint" Teresa of Calcutta, this declaration means that Mother Teresa is now known as St. Teresa of Calcutta in the Catholic Church.
Mother Teresa was invited to speak at the Vatican and the United Nations, an opportunity only a few powerful people are given.
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