Mother Teresa, listening to this name most of us recollect a divine old lady draped in a white sari with a blue border with a feel of service and love.
Mother Teresa is the one remembered when we hear the words kindness and love. She is a symbol of service. We have a small compilation of life of Mother Teresa, achievements and honours on the occasion of Teresa’s birth anniversary.
Mother Teresa Biography:
Mother Teresa was named as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on 26 August 1910 in an Albanian family. She was born in Skopje, now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia (South-East Europe) Gonxhe meant little flower such was her heart.
According to a biography written by Joan Graff Clucas Agnes was fascinated by the missionaries and their services in Bengal. At the age of 12, she was convinced to join missionaries to serve people. She left her home at the age of 18 to join Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English.
She came to India in 1929 and began her training in Darjeeling. She learnt Bengali near her convent and started teaching at St. Teresa’s School. She became Teresa at the time of her first religious vows.
She loved teaching, but the poverty in Calcutta disturbed her very much. The Bengal famine and partition religious violence made the city to death.
On 19th September she experienced “the call within the call” while travelling to Darjeeling from Calcutta after the retreat. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.”
An author observed, “Though no one knew it at the time, Sister Teresa had just become Mother Teresa”.
She started her missionary work in 1948 after receiving basic training from Holy Family Hospital and went into slums and to help destitute and starving. She aced severe economical problems during this period when she wrote
“Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross. Today, I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then, the comfort of Loreto [her former congregation] came to tempt me.
‘You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again,’ the Tempter kept on saying … Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come.”
With Vatican permission, she started missionaries of charity with a mission to care for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted. Started with 13 members, it has now evolved into a 4000 sisters congregation.
She treated every member who sought her help as her own. Her service to the leprosy victims who are unwanted by their families was helped by her.
Her work got recognition from world wide. She received Padma Shri in 1962 and Bharat Ratna. She was appointed as Hon nary Companion of Order of Australia in 1982. She received honorary citizenship of the United States in 1996. In 1979, she received the highest honour Noble prize for peace.
She refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to the laureates instead asked for $192,000 funds for poor.
During her award, she was asked, what can we do to promote world peace?” She answered, “Go home and love your family.”
She died on 5 September 1997. Her heart condition worsened after two heart attacks.
On this birth anniversary of Mother Teresa, let’s recollect her words, her service to the poor and respect other human beings. We may not be another Teresa but at least a day as Mother may be helpful to the needy. A day expenses to the charity can be done by all of us.
Even today Mother Teresa lives in hearts of billions; her commitment to the needy is unforgettable.