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Biography of Mother Teresa


By: Astha Raghav 

Mother Teresa is also known as "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta". Her earlier name was Anjeza Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was born on 26th August 1910 at the then Yugoslavia [ Non Republic of Macedonian]. She cameto India in 1926. Mother Teresa was Roman Ca6nun moved to Calcutta slum to serve God among the poorest of the poor.

In 1950, she established the Missionaries of Charity to help the poor, helpless, disabled, diseased, refugees and lepers. Today, the  Missionary is present in more than 100 countries. She was awarded the title of Padam Shri in 1962. She received the Novel peace prize in 1979. Later in 1980, she received the title of  "Bharat Ratna" the highest civilian award in India.  She is the first citizen of India to win Novel Peace Prize. 

She had once said, “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.” Her work transcended geo-political borders and she encompassed the whole of humanity in her healing embrace. Her work was recognised through numerous international and national awards and recognitions. She was canonised at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016 and came to be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.In 1928, she left Skopje to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, a Catholic institution, which was popularly known as Sisters of Loreto. There, she was inducted into nunnery. She was given the name Sister Mary Teresa after the Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. After a training of around six months in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, Teresa was sent to Darjeeling, India to complete the novitiate period. 

On 24 May, 1931 she took her initial vows as a nun, the First Profession of Vows. She was sent to Calcutta by the Sisterhood. For around next 15 years, Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, now Kolkata. The school run by the Sisters of Loreto provided free education to girls hailing from poor families. Here, Teresa became well versed in Bengali, and improved her English. She also became the principal of the school in 1944.

During her Final Profession of Vows on May 24, 1937, she took a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. She took on the customary title of Mother and came to be known as Mother Teresa.

Call for Serving Humanity

Although Mother loved teaching and enjoyed shaping young minds at St. Mary’s, she was immensely disturbed by the plight of people around her. She was witness to the Bengal Famine in 1943, and experienced the pitiful condition of the poor during the trying times. Sufferings and desperation of the hungry tugged at the chords of her heart. The Hindu-Muslim Riots of 1946 prior to partition of India tore the nation apart. These two traumatic events drove Mother Teresa to contemplate what she could do to alleviate the sufferings of the people around her. 

On 10 September, 1946, while traveling to Darjeeling, North-Bengal, for the annual retreat of the Convent, Mother heard "the call within call". She felt as if the Jesus was asking her to come out of the walls and serve the down-trodden of the society. Following the Call, on August 17, 1947, Mother left the Convent. Out of reverence towards the Indian culture she adopted white sari with a blue border. He applied for Indian Citizenship and took basic medical training from Holy Family Hospital in Patna. For the next few years, Mother Teresa lived among the poor, in the slums of Calcutta. She, along with a few fellow nuns, went door to door, begging for food and financial help. They survived on the bare minimum and used the excess to help people around them. Gradually, her tireless efforts were recognised and help started pouring in from various sources.

Thank You!

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