Mother Teresa Biography
Biography of Mother Teresa
Recognised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the Catholic Church, Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia on August 27, 1910 and left for her heavenly abode on September 5, 1997. As an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun, Mother Teresa initially lived for eighteen years in Macedonia, later moved to Ireland, and finally landed in India, where she spent a major part of her lifetime.
Mother Teresa’s Early Life
As the youngest child of Nikolle and Dranafile Bojazhiu (an Albanian politician), Mother Teresa was fascinated by the stories about the lives of missionaries and the way they were serving mankind in West Bengal. At the tender age of 12, Agnes alias Mother Teresa decided to dedicate her life to a religious cause. It was at the age of 18 that she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, the Irish community comprising nuns involved in operating missions across India. In 1929, Mother Teresa landed in India for the first time and pursued her love for teaching from 1931 to 1948. She taught at the St. Teresa’s School in Darjeeling.
Establishment of “The Missionaries of Charity”
It was in 1948 that Mother Teresa started serving the poorest of the poor residing in the slum areas of Calcutta in West Bengal. Later, she even started operating an open-air school for the slum children and eventually set up The Missionaries of Charity on October 7, 1950 after receiving permission from the Vatican. The aim of the congregation was to reach the alcoholics, AIDS victims, hungry, naked, homeless, crippled, blind, lepers and everyone else, who was in need of relief. Initially, the Missionaries of Charity included a group of 13 members in Calcutta. By the year 1997, the count grew to more than 4,000 sisters, who got engaged in running AIDS hospices, orphanages and charity centres in different parts of the world.
Honours and Awards
Mother Teresa’s work won her several accolades from individuals as well as organizations across the globe. Here’s a listing of the same:
- In 1962, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian Government
- In 1969, she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
- She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979
- She was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1980
Apart from the above-listed awards, Mother Teresa also received the Templeton, Ramon Magsaysay award for Peace and International Understanding and the Pope John XXIII Peace Price (1971).
Mother Teresa’s Canonisation
On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa was canonised by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City amid a gathering of tens of thousands of people, comprising 15 official delegations and 1,500 homeless people hailing from different parts of Italy. The canonisation took place only after the Vatican confirmed the Pope Francis having recognised a second miracle (on December 17, 2015) attributed to Mother Teresa, which involved the recovery of a Brazilian man suffering with multiple brain tumours. The canonisation ceremony was broadcast live on the Vatican television channel and also streamed over the internet. In addition to celebration of a special Mass at the Missionaries of Charity in present day Kolkata, India, even Skopje, the hometown of Mother Teresa got to enjoy a 7-day long celebration of her canonisation.