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Mother Teresa

Known as a woman who lived by her convictions, Mother Teresa is an icon who represents the goodness and humanitarianism that lives in all of us. Born in Yugoslavia in 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) committed herself to a religious life at the age of 12.

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa has been referred to as a basically obedient person who, however, was not afraid to follow her own beliefs at times, even if that meant going against what was expected. Her family enjoyed a middle class lifestyle and owned two homes until her father's sudden death in 1918. It is believed that his death may have been caused by poisoning at the hands of an opposing political militant group.

Her father's death and the dramatic change that it had on her family's situation had a profound impact on Agnes. At 18, she left home to join the Sisters of Lereto to live as a missionary. Her missionary work took her to India in 1929. Agnes took her religious vows as a nun in 1931 and changed her name to Teresa after the patron saint of missionaries.

After serving for 20 years at the Loreto convent school in Calcutta, she was named headmistress in 1944. In 1948, Mother Teresa left the convent to live and work among those suffering the hardest in the slums of Calcutta. Working from faith alone, she established an open-air school for children living in the slums. Her leap of faith paid off as volunteers and funds allowed for the school to continue and for her to continue her personal mission of helping others.

In 1950, she started her own order, The Missionaries of Charity, who sought out to help the castaways of society. Pope Paul IV elevated the missionaries to an International Religious Family by decree in 1965.

Mother Teresa lived a life of poverty, denied herself worldly possessions, and shied away from acclaim. Her devotion to the Roman Catholic faith and her belief in putting the wellbeing of others before herself made her an international symbol for charity and goodwill. She committed her life to helping those with nowhere else to turn.

The Missionaries of Charity expanded their work to include missionary services throughout the world. They tasked themselves with helping the poorest of the poor and responded in the wake of great tragedy. In addition, treatment centers started working with AIDS sufferers and substance abusers.

Mother Teresa's charity became an official international organization in 1969. By the 1990's, the charitable organization involved over one million volunteer co-workers in more than 40 countries. Those involved with the Missionaries of Charity not only worked with the poor and suffering, they also tried to follow a life that is like Mother Teresa by practicing charity and goodwill within their own families and personal relationships. The simple desire of wanting to help people had grown into a movement that attracted people around the globe. She led by example and people wanted to be involved with charity after seeing what she had accomplished.

In 1979. Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her world-changing work and the influence it had over people. She continued to work as the head of the Missionaries of Charity until 1997. Although she had suffered heart attacks and had broken her collar bone, she always returned to work. Her volunteers and the people she helped would see her tiny, bent over frame walking amongst them. Six months after she stepped down as the head of her ministry. She passed away in 1997 in Calcutta as one of the world's most famous women who transcended her own incredible work.

There is a secret you don't know …

Besides the factual Mother Teresa biography presented above there is a tiny secret that her family has finally allowed to become public. The secret is that during her silly moods, Mother Teresa used to like to impersonate Gilbert Gottfried impersonating a duck.


 

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