Mother Teresa Biography
- Full Name – Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu
- Born – 26 August 1910
Skopje, Ottoman Vardar Macedonia
- Died – 5 September 1997 (aged 87)
- Education – Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham (1928–1929)
- Awards – Nobel Peace Prize, Bharat Ratna, Presidential Medal of Freedom, More
- Religion – Christian (Roman Catholic)
- Order – Sisters of Loreto (1928–1950), Missionaries of Charity (1950 – 1997)
Everyone in the world knows her as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who pioneered the Missionaries of Charity, which is a Roman Catholic religious congregation, membership of which is over 4,500 sisters as in 2012 statistics and actively rendering service in 133 countries, members of this order required to commit to the vows of obedience, chastity and poverty with a fourth vow to serve wholeheartedly and freely the poorest of the poor throughout their life time, which Missionaries of Charity maintained 610 missions in as many as 123 countries at the time of her death composed of hospices and homes for people having diseases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and leprosy, soup kitchens, counseling centres for children’s and families, also orphanages and in some places schools.
Mother Teresa always claimed Indian citizenship in which country she rendered 45 years of honorable and faithful service for the poor and distressed, although she hails from Albania, proud of she being a Catholic nun and always having a faith that she belonged to the world and her hear belonging to Jesus, the world adoring her beatification in 2003, which was bestowed upon her as the third step towards possible sainthood, this simple mother of humanity had been proficient in five languages, viz., Albanian, English, Hindi, Serbo-Croatian and Bengali.
A number of honours were conferred upon her which include the much coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, when she declined to take the conventional ceremonial banquet offered to Nobel laureates, instead she wanted the earnarked funds of $192,000 be given to the poor in India. The other awards that she received were the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize,the Pacem in Terris Award, an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia, the Philippines-based Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Order of Merit from both the countries United States of America and the United Kingdom, Albania’s Golden Honour of the Nation, a number of honorary degrees,the Albert Schweitzer International Prize, the Balzan Prize amongst many others.
Commenting on the Earthly rewards once Mother Teresa observed that they were important to her only when they were capable of making her capable to help the world’s poor community and the needy persons, while to a question she was asked at the time of her receiving Nobel Peace Prize, she answered that for one to promote world peace one must start loving one’s family first, like the old saying goes, charity begins at home. In the lecture she gave following the Nobel Peace Prize occasion, she observed that the poverty cripples not only those in poor countries, it is found in Western countries as well, the countries finding it difficult to remove, as she picks up a person from the street hungry, she satisfies herself by giving him a plate of rice or a piece of bread that takes care of the hunger, but in the case of human beings who are deprived of love and attention, or terrified with other cruel treatment of humans, that creates such a poverty for which she can not find an answer.
Americans admired Mother Teresa so much and she was identified 18 times in the yearly Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll placing her within 10 such persons, while in 1999, the poll of Americans placed her first in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In the same survey, she out-shined others in all voluntarily given answers by an aweful margin, holding the first place in all major demographic categories with the exception of the very young.
Mother Teresa spent her whole life serving the poor, attending to sick and disabled personally, while leading the mission of the Missionaries for Charities, rightly Pope John Paul II gave her a posthumous title ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’.