Mother Teresa (Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu), canonised by the Catholic Church in 2016 as “Saint Teresa of Calcutta” was an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary, born in Skopje, North Macedonia. When she turned 18, she moved to Ireland to learn English and become a missionary.
She spent most of her life in India. Her religious congregation, Missionaries of Charity, where founded in 1950, engaged in managing homes for people dying of aids, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, orphanages, schools and counselling programmes. She was well-known for her robe with two blue stripes in which she performed her work on the streets of Calcutta. Her congregation has since spread all over the world. She was canonised in 2016 by Pope Francis.
Born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in a Kosovar Albanian family in Skopje in modern day North Macedonia and a part of the Ottoman Empire at the time of her birth, Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu or Mother Teresa in short. Her father was a local politician and died when she was only 8 years old.
She became fascinated with stories of missionaries at an early age and already knew at the tender age of 12 that she wanted to dedicate her life to a religious calling. She joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland at the age of 18 in order to learn English and become a missionary herself.
In 1929, she moved to India where she also learnt Bengali. After working as a teacher and also headmistress in Calcutta for almost 20 years, she could no longer ignore the poverty in the city. After hearing her calling to dedicate herself to the poor, she left the school in 1950 and founded the Missionaries of Charity.
This is when she became known for her two saris with a blue border. She dedicated the rest of her life to missionary work with the poor in which she was joined by other young women. Initially struggling from a lack of funds to perform her work, she subsequently received assistance from local officials and opened her first hospice in 1952. This hospice – which was free for the poor – was followed by others, including a second one which also catered to patients with leprosy. In addition, her order created several clinics for leprosy-stricken individuals all over the city where they received medication, dressings, and food. She also started taking in homeless children. By the 1960s, she became well-known, no longer struggled with a lack of finances for her work and spread her clinics and hospices all over the world.
Did you know
- That her father had died of a mysterious illness when she was only 8 years old;
- That she was named one of the co-patrons of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta in September 2017;
- That her birth name Anjezë means “rosebud” in Albanian;
- That her family was of Kosovar-Albanian origin;
- That she experienced “the call” to start helping the poor on a train trip to Darjeeling in September 1946;
- That she not only helped people with HIV/AIDS, but also with leprosy, blindness, and other ailments;
- That she rescued 37 children trapped in a front-line hospital by brokering a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Palestine in 1982;
- That she was fluent in five languages – Albanian, Bengali, Serbian, English, and Hindi;
- That she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964?
Most Inspiring Mother Teresa Quotes
Be faithful in small things becaus
it is in them that your strength lies.
Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
Not all of us can do great things.
But we can do small things with great love.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.
The hunger for love is much more difficult
to remove than the hunger for bread.”
If you can’t feed a hundred people,
then feed just one.
Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts,
there can be no more hurt, only more love.
We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning.
Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.
The most terrible poverty is loneliness,
and the feeling of being unloved.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family.
I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across
the waters to create many ripples.
I want you to be concerned about your next-door neighbour.
Do you know your next-door neighbour?
I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like,
but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us,
he will not ask,
‘How many good things have you done in your life?’
rather he will ask,
‘How much love did you put into what you did?
God doesn’t require us to succeed,
he only requires that you try.
If we have no peace, it is because
we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
It’s not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.
Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.