18 years have passed since the saint, Mother Teresa left us, but her humanitarian preaching and selfless service to the poor and the destitute continue to influence the world till the eternal.
This article is to pay tribute to her on her 105th Birthday.
Mother Teresa, the God sent anchor for those swimming in troubled waters in Calcutta, was an occult paradigm of love and sacrifice. Mother’s 105th birthday today reminds us of her selfless effort of mercy, kindness and love towards the poverty-stricken and leprosy patients.
“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus. ”
Small in stature but as high as sky in her faith, Mother Teresa was entrusted with the mission of enduring love and care over the poorest of the poor. Her soul was filled with enlightenment by Christ and burnt with only one desire – to quench Christ’s thirst for love and souls in need.
Mother Teresa’s Biography
Let’s take a quick sneak pick into Mother’s life –
This Holy Saint was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia and was the youngest born to Nikola and Drana Bojaxhiu of Albanian descent. Her father Nikola Bojaxhiu worked as a construction contractor and was a trader of medicines and other goods.
She was baptized as Gonxha Agnes and received her First Communion at the age of five and a half and was confirmed in November 1916. At the age of 8, she lost her father. Many people believed that his father was poisoned by his enemies. After his death, Mother Teresa bonded very closely with her mother, Drane.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
The young Agnes was admitted in a convent-run primary school and then a state-run secondary school. During her childhood, she used to sing in the local Sacred Heart choir and also solo at times. Once Agnes joined the annual pilgrimage to the chapel of the Madonna of Letnice atop Black Mountain in Skopje and it was during this trip that Mother received her first religious calling.
Then at the age of 18, decided to become a nun and set off for Ireland to join the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. In Dublin that she was named Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
After one year of serving in Dublin, she came to India in 1931 and made her First Profession of Vows. She was sent to Calcutta to teach girls from the city’s poorest Bengali families at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, a school, that was run by the Loreto Sisters.
In May 1937 that Mother took her Final Profession of Vows to life of poverty, chastity and obedience. This Final Vow gave her the title of “mother” and came to be known as Mother Teresa. In 1944, she became the principal of the school.
“Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them at last to you.”
Mother Teresa – Her Philanthropic Calling
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.“
After a few years of being a principal, she received another calling and this time to serve the poor and the sick. On September 10, 1946, Mother was travelling to the Himalayan foothills from Calcutta when she felt as if Christ was telling her to drop teaching and work in the slums of Calcutta instead that He wanted Indian Nuns of Missionaries of Charity, who would be His fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying and the little children.
“You are I know the most incapable person—weak and sinful but just because you are that—I want to use You for My glory. Wilt thou refuse?”
Because of the vow of obedience, she was not easily given permission to leave her profession. After nearly two years, she finally received approval from the local Archbishop Ferdinand Périer. It was the same year, she took up a new image – clad in a white sari with blue border.
The Missionaries of Charity
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Soon Mother started establishing an open-air school and a home for the dying destitute. She immediately convinced the city government to donate to her charity. In October 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity with only 12 members, who were former teachers and pupils of St. Mary’s School.
Gradually donations poured in from across the country and globe as well and her activities expanded rampantly. It was in 1950s, she opened a leper colony, a nursing home, an orphanage, a family clinic and an array of mobile health clinics.
International Charity and Recognition
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
In February 1965, the Missionaries of Charity was bestowed by Pope Paul VI the Decree of Praise, which made Mother Teresa expand her cause internationally. By 1997, the strength of Missionaries of Charity crossed over 4,000, with 610 foundations in 123 countries across the globe.
- 1962 – Padma Shri
- 1969 – Jawaharlal Nehru Award For International Understanding
- 1962 – Ramon Magsaysay Award
- 1971 – Pope John XXIII Peace Prize
- 1976 – Pacem In Terris Award
- 1978 – Balzan Prize
- 1979 – Nobel Peace Prize
Despite her selfless service and charity, Mothers life and work were not spared from criticism. When Mother opposed to contraception and abortion in her 1979 Nobel lectures saying, “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion,” she had to face much criticism.
In 1995, she publicly advocated to end the country’s constitutional ban on divorce and remarriage.
The Calm and Composed Saint
From where did Mother Teresa find strength to serve selflessly all through her life?
The answer to such question can be easily found in her daily actions and her devotion to God through her practices of faith and her miraculous silence. Her relation with God was fostered with the same silence all throughout her life. Her practice of harmony gave her time to strengthen her relationship with God and simultaneously fueled her philanthropic action as well.
As per Mother Teresa,
“And when the time comes and we can’t pray it is very simple: If Jesus is in my heart let Him pray, let me allow Him to pray in me, to talk to his Father in the silence of my heart. If I cannot speak, He will speak: If I cannot pray, He will pray.”
Through sacrifice and resolution, Mother Teresa taught people of all faiths to spread love and kindness everywhere. She also preached how the love of Christ asks us to respond to the needs of the troubled humanity and the poor.
In one of her prayers, Mother had urged,
“The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.”
As we cherish Mother and her selfless contribution to the society, let’s adopt her strength of silence because Mother had once said, “In the silence, God speaks.”
As per Marlene T. Elias, who was an organist for 20 years at St. Julie Billiart in Newbury Park, California and is writing a book on Mother Teresa,
“This woman who described herself as a “little pencil in the hand of God” served God well and obediently. Let us pray for her successor, Sister Nirmala, and all the Missionaries of Charity, that the Holy Spirit will guide their Order and help all of the sisters fruitfully continue in their holy and selfless work. May they, as Mother Teresa did, always see Jesus in the poorest of the poor and be Jesus to all they meet.”
Mother has never let anyone down. It is known that almost every day small children were left at her doorstep in the early morning hours by people who either were unable to take care of the child or the child was sick. The parents invariable knew that Mother Teresa would be able to be a better mother to them and the child will be safe under her roof. This wonderful Mother gave shelter to all those children without any regret.
We honestly salute Mother Teresa for all her incredible work. On the eve of her Birthday, FashionLady takes pride and recognises Mother for all her benevolent effort.
Let us look at some wonderful quotes on love, care and smile from the wonderful icon.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”
“Peace begins with a smile.”
We see how she emphasised on smile. She believed a simple smile can change the world. She honestly is a true legend for she spent her entire life in just serving without expecting anything in return. She only believed in smiling and showing love and compassion to the poor and the needy.
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
Let’s look at some more images of Mother Teresa.
Here are 3 quotes by Mother Teresa that changed our outlook on life
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
And just how true is that? It says so much about the functioning of human brain. The moment we judge someone by their appearance, we set mental blocks and refuse to see them for who they really are.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Read this and take a moment for it to sink in. Now, every time you look at someone, look at them with love. Believe us when we say this, you’ll make someone very happy!
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
Well, like they say, for everything else, there’s MasterCard but for love, there’s just feelings and nothing says love like an innocent heart-felt smile!