Mother Teresa: A Beacon of Compassion and Humanity

mother teresa

Mother Teresa, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, is revered worldwide as a symbol of selfless compassion and humanitarian service. Her life and work with the poor, sick, and dying in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, have left an indelible mark on the world, making her a beacon of hope and kindness.

Early Life and Calling

Mother Teresa was born into a devout Catholic family and felt a calling to religious life from a young age. At 18, she joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland, where she took the name Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She soon traveled to India, where she began her novitiate in Darjeeling. After taking her vows, she taught at St. Mary’s High School in Kolkata for almost two decades.

The "Call Within a Call"

In 1946, during a train ride to Darjeeling, Mother Teresa experienced what she described as the “call within a call.” She felt a deep urge to leave the convent and work directly with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata. After receiving permission from her superiors, she embarked on this new mission, founding the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. This order was dedicated to serving “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”

Work with the Poor and Sick

Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity began with a small group of 12 members and grew exponentially over the years. She opened hospices, orphanages, and leper houses throughout India and later expanded her work to other countries. Her approach was simple but profound: to provide care and love to those who were suffering. She believed that every person deserved to die with dignity and that no one should be alone in their final moments.

Global Recognition and Awards

Mother Teresa’s tireless work did not go unnoticed. She received numerous awards and honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Despite the accolades, she remained humble and focused on her mission, often stating that the recognition was not for her but for the poor and destitute she served.

Criticism and Controversy

While many lauded Mother Teresa’s work, she also faced criticism. Some questioned the quality of medical care provided in her facilities, and others criticized her views on contraception and abortion. Despite the controversies, her legacy as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor remains powerful.

Canonization and Legacy

Mother Teresa passed away on September 5, 1997, but her legacy lives on. She was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016. The Missionaries of Charity continue to operate worldwide, embodying her spirit of compassion and service.


Mother Teresa’s life is a testament to the power of love and compassion. Her unwavering dedication to helping the poorest of the poor has inspired countless individuals and organizations to continue her work. In a world often marred by division and hardship, Mother Teresa’s legacy serves as a powerful reminder of the difference one person can make through acts of kindness and selflessness.

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