Mother Teresa

Swami Vivekananda – Be a Hero .Always say, ‘I have no fear’….
Subhash Chandra Bose

Mother Teresa

‘Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.’- Mother Teresa

There was one person who made sure every individual in Kolkata was rich with love and care, even if they were lacking with material wealth – Mother Teresa, though of Albanian descent, changed the face of her adopted country and city, India, Kolkata – by her reform work of eradication of poverty.

Life:

Mother Teresa was born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje Macedonia on the 26th of August in 1910. It is said that from the tender age of 12 itself, Agnes had felt the call of God and she knew that she would spread the love of Christ and she had to be missionary. Soon when she was 18 years old she left her parental home and joined an Irish community of nuns with missions in India – the Sisters of Loreto. Soon armed with the strong passion of spreading the gospel of love and a few months of training in Dublin on 24th May 1931, Mother Teresa reached India and took her initial vows as a nun.

Achievements:

Mother Teresa began teaching at the St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta from the years 1931 to 1948. However, Mother Teresa was deeply affected by the raging poverty that surrounded her outside the protected walls of the convent. Soon in 1948, she decided to leave the school and devoted her life to the working for the poor in the slums of Kolkata.

Mother Teresa in the beginning only had the passion and the drive to eradicate poverty and help the poor, and since she had no funds she had decided to start an open-air school for slum children. However, with time Mother Teresa got help in the form of financial aid and volunteer, which made it possible for her to increase and expand her scope of work.

Mother Teresa soon started ‘The Missionaries of Charity’ on the 7th of October 1950, after taking the permission of the Holy See. The order had one primary task, namely to care for and love those people that nobody were prepared to look after. The Society soon became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI in 1964.

Today the Missionary of Charities has expanded to almost all parts of the world and even includes the Eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union. Even today the order provides great help to the poor people in numerous countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. It also undertakes various relief works in the wake of natural catastrophes like famine, floods and epidemics.

The order has houses in various parts of Australia, Europe and North America that takes care of shut-ins, AIDS sufferers, homeless and alcoholics. Throughout the world Mother Teressa’s work has been acclaimed and recognized and she also has won numerous distinctions and awards which even includes the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pope John XXVII Peace Prize and the Nehru Prize for promotion of international peace and understanding.

The Missionaries of Charity had over 4000 sisters, an associated brotherhood of 300 members that operated over 610 missionaries in over 123 countries at the time of Mother Teresa’s death. These missionaries even included homes and hospices for people suffering from leprosy, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; they even had personal helpers, schools and orphanages apart from children’s and family counselling programs.

The book ‘Something Beautiful for God’ by Malcolm Muggeridge documented the vast work done by Mother Teresa. She has also been awarded with the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna, she even received the famous Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, and this was given for her great work done in East and South of Asia. The citation said that ‘the board of Trustees recognizes her merciful cognizance of the abject poor of a foreign land, in whose service she has led a new congregation.

When she was awarded with the Noble Peace Prize ‘for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace;’ Mother Teresa is said to have refused the conventional ceremonial banquet and had even asked the $192000 funds to be given to the poor in India. She stated that the earthly rewards were important to here only if they helped her help the world’s needy.

When Mother Teresa was asked while she was receiving the prize ‘What can we do to promote world peace?’ she answered “Go home and love your family.” Building on this theme in her Nobel Lecture, she said: “Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger.

But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society—that poverty is so hurt able and so much, and I find that very difficult.” She also singled out abortion as ‘the greatest destroyer of peace in the world’.

After Mother Teresa passed away prior to her funeral in September 1997, she lay in repose for one week at the St Thomas in Kolkata.  The Indian government had granted her a state funeral for her services rendered to the poor of all religions of the country. Her death was mourned in both secular and religious communities. The former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar said: “She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world.” Following her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’. Mother Teresa remains on the whole, one of the most admired figures in recent history.

Swami Vivekananda – Be a Hero .Always say, ‘I have no fear’….
Subhash Chandra Bose

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