Mother Teresa - Celebrate Mother's Day
Mother Teresa – Celebrate Mother’s Day
Mother Teresa was a remarkable individual often described as obedient and independent. During her life she challenged many expectations and preconceived notions about expectations through her willingness to follow her conscience and listen to others.
Originally born Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was born in Skipje, Yugoslavia on August 27, 1910. She was the youngest of five children. However, only three of the children survived. Mother Teresa actually grew up fairly well-off, and according to her brother Lazar, the family “lacked for nothing.”
Although much of her early life revolved around church, Mother Teresa stated later in life that she never considered being a nun until her 18th birthday. She was, however, always interested in missionary life and service during her formative years. As a girl, she could locate numerous missions on a map and describe the service of the specific missions.
Called To Religious Life
At 18 years of age, Mother Teresa chose to dedicate her life to god. She chose to become a nun at the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, a missionary founded to educate young girls in the 17th century. By choosing to begin a religious life in Ireland, Mother Teresa moved far away from her family and never again saw her mother. Other individuals that served with Mother Teresa during her time at Loreto Sisters of Dublin describe her as “very small, quiet and shy” and “ordinary.”
In 1929, Mother Teresa was sent by the missionary to Darjeeling. She made her first vows in Darjeeling in 1931 and chose the name Teresa in honor of the saints that share this name. Soon after, Mother Teresa was sent to a high school in a district of Calcutta named St. Mary’s. She began teaching geography and history and continued to work at the school for the next 15 years.
The Streets of Calcutta
In 1946, Mother Teresa received the invitation for her “second calling” when she traveled to Darjeeling for a retreat. According to Mother Teresa “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” This calling required Mother Teresa to be formally released from living within the convents and also receive permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to directly work with the poor on the streets.
As part of this transmission, Mother Teresa chose to adopt the dress of ordinary Indian woman including a plain white sari and sandals. In 1948, she formally received permission to live as an independent nun. She began by teaching the children of the slums. Without any formal equipment, she made use of the available resources aiming to make the children of the slums literate and provide them with basic hygiene skills.
A Movement Begins
Within a year, many young women started to volunteer to assist Mother Teresa by becoming her Missionaries of Charity. Other individuals supported her cause through donations of food, medical supplies, money and use of buildings. From this humble beginning, the Missionaries of Charity grew into a worldwide organization dedicated to helping those in need. Today, the organization offers many services including homes for the dying, treatment centers for addiction and educational services for orphaned and abandoned children.
Despite numerous years of spiritual, emotional and physical work, Mother Teresa continued to build Missionaries of Charity throughout her life. She always returned to work, even in her later years when she was frail and had numerous ailments. Mother Teresa liked to describe herself as “God’s pencil—a tiny bit of pencil with which he writes what he likes.” As her organization continued to grow, Mother Teresa was able to help more and more of the world’s population.
Mother Teresa continued to work with the poor until her death in 1997. Over the years she received numerous honors for her work. Mother Teresa died and returned to God on September 5, 1997.
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