Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Yugoslavia on August 27, 1910 and was originally named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She always felt a calling to serve God and when grown she left her home and traveled to Dublin, Ireland where she took the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and became a nun.
She started being called “Sister Teresa” now that her life was devoted to carrying out God’s work. The order she belonged to also had convent schools located in India, where she later went to teach. She fell in love with India and ultimately adopted the country as her home and this is how India became her base of operations.
Sister Teresa was travelling by train to a retreat when she had an incredible spiritual experience on September 10, 1948. It was a very vivid message from God, telling her to leave her responsibilities at the convent in order to express His love by helping the poor, the downtrodden and suffering. It was that very year that she left her job at the convent to seek out and help the poor, starting her special mission.
Before long she had twelve followers who were as devoted as she was to the cause of helping the poor. Together they sought out the most unfortunate members of society and began living among them. In the beginning years of their order they experienced humiliation and even abuse, but they pressed on. In 1950, the Vatican took notice and created the Missionaries of Charity, naming Sister Teresa the head and this is when she became Mother Teresa.
The House for the Dying opened its doors two years later in 1952. It was established to care for the helpless who needed guidance and to die with dignity. Five years later, in 1957, Mother Teresa began working with lepers, who were total outcasts in society. Wherever there was a disaster, she would send missionaries there to help in every way possible, including raising funds for those in distress.
Nobel Peace Prize
Her unwavering dedication throughout the years gained her many supporters worldwide as well as admirers. She displayed complete selflessness and proved to all that despite severe economic divides among people, we are all the same and we all experience the same sorrow and pain. Her charitable works have crossed religious and national boundaries across the world. In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her many years of humanitarian work.
Over the decades she got the attention and support of many benefactors from all different backgrounds, including world leaders. In time she was able to stop worrying about where the funding would come for her projects. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1985 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. A little more than a decade later, in 1996 she was voted second in a poll taken for the World’s Most Caring Individuals, with Princess Diana coming in first.
There is no doubt that Mother Teresa helped millions of suffering people in her lifetime. Her work inspired people everywhere, both rich and poor, to live compassionate lives. Mother Teresa was the embodiment of a universal principle of unconditional love and compassion, the true expression of God’s will on earth. If more people would follow her we would have a more spiritual and peaceful world.
Mother Teresa passed on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87 in Calcutta, India. She was beatified in October of 2003 and in December 2015 Pope Francis approved the second miracle attributed to her, paving the way for her canonization into Sainthood this year. She showed all of us how we can become closer to God by doing His work in helping others.