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Mother Teresa Biography

Posted On November 15th, 2009 By Celebrity Biographies

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 27, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. Agnes was born to Nikola and Dronda Bojaxhiu and was the youngest of three children. She was actually born on the 26th of August, but she celebrated her birthday a day after, since that was the day when she was baptized. Her father was an admired merchant and was a member of the Skopje council. He was deeply involved in politics and her mother was a housewife.

Early Life

Agnes was startlingly independent, obedient and was deeply influenced by the missionary services in her childhood. Father Jambren Kovin, the pastor of her church, introduced her to the work being done by missionaries in India. She started living a religious life at the age of 18 and joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. She began her religious life in Ireland in the year 1928 and she learned to speak English while she was in Ireland. Later in November that year, she came to India to teach English in Calcutta (Now known as Kolkatta). She spent time as a teacher and a principle at the St. Mary’s high school in Calcutta. Agnes started her novitiate in an Abbey in Darjeeling in 1929 followed by the Abbey in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Vows

This is the time that a nun spends praying, studying and contemplating prior to taking her vows. Agnes took her first vows on May 24, 1931 of chastity, poverty and obedience. This is when she took her name from the patron saint of missionaries, St. Theresa and was called Teresa. Teresa took her final vows on May 14, 1937 promising to serve God for the rest of her life. She left the convent in August 1946, when the city was in terror and surrounded by riots. Sister Teresa was granted the permission to leave the Loreto Order of Nuns in 1947; however she left on August 16, 1948. She traveled all across Calcutta wearing a white saree with a blue border, sacrificing the Loreto Abbey. She learnt medical skills from Mother Anna Dengel in Patina, before servicing the slums. With her abilities, she was included in the Medical Missionary Sisters Group. While returning to Calcutta, she stayed at the St. Joseph’s Home with the Little Sisters of the Poor. She stayed here until December 21, 1948 and then went back to the slums.

The Journey

In order to demonstrate her dedication to Calcutta’s poor she decided to become an Indian citizen in 1949. Cardinal Pietro Fumoson Biondi sanctioned Sister Teresa’s order on October 7, 1950 and this is when she was called ‘Mother Teresa’. The Missionaries of Charities shifted to a new residence in the middle of 1953. She was given an unused building for the dying in 1954 and with the help of other nuns; she transformed the place into ‘The Place of the Immaculate Heart’. During this time, she was often criticized for wasting funds on the dead and dying; however she had great compassion for the victims of leprosy. Establishing the 35 acre ‘Town of Peace’ for the lepers was one of the biggest achievements of her life. ‘Missionaries of Charity’ formed groups to travel to different parts of India in 1960. Due to loads of contributions 30 centres were released outside Calcutta. In the same year, she travelled across the states of US and visited several other countries to collect donations. She gathered numerous ideas for her institution.

The ‘Missionaries of Charity’ gained permission by the Pope to work outside India in February 1965. They established the first home in Cocorote Venezuela and by 1970; they had set up ten houses around South America that would provide food, clothing and shelter to the poor. Pope Paul Vito requested Mother Teresa to open a house in Rome in the year 1968 and she also went to Tanzania. With the help of Ann Blankie, she founded the ‘International Association of the Co-workers’ in 1969.

Awards

Mother Teresa was awarded the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize by Pope Paul VI in the year 1971. This included a small statue of Christ and $67000 as a charity. Mother Teresa brought her work to the US in 1971. She was given the ‘Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation Award’ in October by the Kennedy family, which consisted of $12000 as a charity for disabled children. Mother Teresa was also awarded the ‘Templeton Prize’ for Progress in Religion in 1973. She received a lot of awards for her work for the poor; however the highest of all was the Nobel Peace Prize On December 9, 1979 which included the prize amount of $190,000. Three months later, she was given the biggest award in India, called the ‘Bharat Ratna’ award. President Reagan awarded her the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ in 1985.

Mother Teresa was given back to God On September 5, 1997 and her body was buried on September 13, 1997. Millions of people gathered around for her funeral ceremony. After her death, the Holy See began the beatification process, which is the third step towards canonization. Such a process requires documentation of some miracle performed by the intercession of the Late Mother Teresa.

She still remains alive in the form of her work and her teachings. She was a human being who was respected and admired all around the world. Mother Teresa stands out in billions today and shall always be remembered as one of the kindest human beings of all times.


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