Mother Teresa Biography- Know more on Life, Work, Prize

Mother Teresa was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun who born in Albania and devoted her life to helpless people in India. She was born on 26th August 1910 in Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire which is now the capital of North Macedonia. An interesting fact is she was born on 26 August, but it was considered 27 August as her true birthday after she was baptized. Her Birth name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, but she was named as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Mother Teresa. She left her home and reached in India to live a religious life. She was considered one of the greatest Civil Right Hero due to work for humanity. She has opened many charities in India and abroad. Missionaries of Charity is one of them.

Mother Teresa received many prestigious awards for her greatest work for humanity. She received Novel Peace Prize, India’s Highest Civilian Award Bharat Ratna, India’s fourth civilian award Padmashree, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Pope John XXIII Peace Prize, The Jawaharlal Nehru Award and many more. Let’s read here Mother Teresa biography below.

Quick Facts

Full NameAgnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu
Born Date26th August 1910
Born PlaceÜsküp, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died5th September 1997 (aged 87)
Death PlaceCalcutta, West Bengal, India
Best known forMother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Mother Teresa, Civil Right Hero
AwardsPadma Shri (1962), Nobel Peace Prize (1979), Bharat Ratna (1980) and more
Alternative TitlesAgnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa, Saint Mother Teresa, Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Family & RelationshipNikolle Bojaxhiu (Father), Dranafile Bojaxhiu (Mother), Aga Bojaxhiu (Sister), Lazar Bojaxhiu (Brother)
Websitemotherteresa.org

Read her full timeline

Mother Teresa’s Birth

Mother Teresa was born on 26 August 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family in Skopje, Ottoman Empire. Now, this is the capital of North Macedonia.

Her born name was Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She was an Albanian.

Mother Teresa’s Family

Her father’s name was Nikolle Bojaxhiu and mother Dranafile Bojaxhiu. She was the youngest child of her parents. Her sister was Aga Bojaxhiu and brother Lazar Bojaxhiu. Her father was an entrepreneur who worked as a construction contractor and a trader of medicines and other goods. Her father was involved in Albanian-community politics in Ottoman Macedonia. When she was eight years old her father died.

Mother Teresa’s Education

She received her early education at a convent-run primary school and After her father’s death, she received her education from a state secondary school in neighboring Croatia.

The school was a Roman Catholic. Teresa learned here about the work of Catholic missionaries in India and was inspired by the mission field herself.

At the age of 18 in 1928 Teresa went to join the Sisters of Loreto the Irish branch of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland. She left home to learn English with the view of becoming a missionary. Because English was the language of instruction of the Sisters of Loreto in India. She never saw her family again.

Mother Teresa Biography- Know More On  Life, Work, Prize

Mother Teresa’s Work life

Teresa change her name from Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to Sister Mary Teresa while she was in Ireland. Six weeks later she moved from Ireland to India. She arrived in India.

On December 1, 1928, Teresa left Ireland and traveled by boat to India. On January 6, 1929, she arrived in Calcutta after a long journey through the Suez Canal, across the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal.

One week after, she went to Darjeeling to begin a two-year course of studies. Teresa was made here a Loreto novitiate and received her nun’s uniform. She learned here Hindi and Bengali language.

Vows and become “Mother Teresa”

On May 24, 1931, Teresa made her first temporary vows and began teaching in the Loreto convent school of Darjeeling. Mother Teresa helped the nursing staff at a small medical station in Darjeeling. Then she was sent to Loreto Entally in Calcutta. In St. Mary’s high school in Loreto school, Teresa taught geography and history in English to the Bengali Girls.

Vows and become “Mother Teresa”

The Loreto nuns believed that education can solve the problems of poverty in India. On 14 May 1937, Teresa took her second vows known as solemn vows. She began to teach the slum children at St. Teresa’s primary school outside the compound of Loreto Entally. The slum children called her “Maa” which means Mother. She became Mother Teresa.

In 1944 she was appointed as its headmistress. She served there for nearly twenty years.

Experiencing “Call within a call”

St. Mother Teresa

Two things happened in Bengal at that time when she heard the call of her inner conscious. In 1943 misery and death to the city, on August 16, 1946, Muslim-Hindu violence where more than five thousand citizens killed and another fifteen thousand wounded.

On September 10, 1946, while she was in a train for Darjeeling she experienced the call of her inner conscious “call within a call,” which she considered divine inspiration to devote herself to caring for the sick and poor. Daily she went outside to beg for food for the sick and poor.

Missionaries of Charity

In October 1946, she returned to Entally Calcutta from Darjeeling. She sought permission from her superiors to leave the convent school. Pope Pius XII granted her permission on April 12, 1948.

In 1948, She replaced her traditional Loreto habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border and began her missionary work with the poor. She adopted Indian citizenship.

She went to Patna to learn basic medical training at Holy Family Hospital for the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the recovery period.

In 1949, Mother Teresa laid the foundation of a new religious community called “poorest among the poor” with the help of some group of young women.

On 7 October 1950, Teresa received permission for the foundation of a small community called “Diocesan Congregation of the Calcutta Diocese” which was becoming ‘Missionaries of Charity‘.

Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa

Its main aim was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.

Nirmal Hriday

In 1952, Mother Teresa opened her first hospice in an abandoned Hindu temple of Kali with help from Calcutta officials. She renamed it as Nirmal Hriday.

Other Charity in India

In 1955, Teresa opened her first orphanage for abandoned babies and children called “Nirmala Shishu Bhavan”.

By the end of 1960, it had opened a lot of hospices, orphanages, and leper houses throughout India with the help of donations.

In 1965 She opened a hospice called Shanti Nagar for people suffering from leprosy. In 1967, Teresa established the Missionary Brothers of Charity. Teresa founded four more branches of the Missionaries of Charity:

  • The Contemplative Brothers
  • The Mission of Charity Fathers
  • The International Association of Co-Workers
  • The Contemplative Sisters

International Charity

Mother Teresa then expanded the congregation to abroad.

  • In 1965, She opened a house in Venezuela with five sisters.
  • In 1968, opened houses in Italy (Rome), Tanzania, and Austria.
  • During the 1970s houses opened and foundations for houses in the United States, many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
  • In 1991 she returned to Albania to open a Missionaries of Charity Brothers home in Tirana.
  • By the end of 1997 Missionaries of Charity had 13-member Calcutta congregation and more than 4,000 sisters.
  • By the end of 2007, the charity had about 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools, and shelters in 120 countries.

Mother Teresa’s Death

In 1983 Mother Teresa had a heart attack while she was in Rome.

In 1989, she had her second heart attack and she received an artificial pacemaker for her heart.

In 1991, Teresa wanted her to resign from the head of the Missionaries of Charity due to her heart problem but the sisters of the congregation voted her secretly to stay with charity.

In April 1996 Mother Teresa had faced several health problems. She had fallen and her collarbone was broken, and she had malaria and heart failure.

On 13 March 1997 Teresa resigned as head of the Missionaries of Charity.

On 5 September 1997, she died.

Critics on Mother Teresa

So many persons in India criticized Mother Teresa.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya who was a mayor of Kolkata from 2005 to 2010, said that “she had no significant impact on the poor of this city, glorified illness instead of treating it and misrepresented the city. No doubt there was poverty in Calcutta, but it was never a city of lepers and beggars, as Mother Teresa presented it.”

St. Mother Teresa

Vishwa Hindu Parishad opposed the government’s decision to grant her a state funeral.
Secretary Giriraj Kishore said that “her first duty was to the Church and social service was incidental”, also accused her of favoring Christians.

Frontline magazine said she had made no impact on the public perception of her work, especially in Calcutta.

In February 2015 Mohan Bhagwat who is a leader of the Hindu right-wing organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said that Teresa’s objective was “to convert the person into a Christian who was being served”. Former RSS spokesperson M. G. Vaidhya supported Mohan Bhagwat.

But Trinamool Congress’s MP Derek O’Brien, CPI leader Atul Anjan, and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal protested Bhagwat’s statement.

According English journalist Christopher Hitchens:

  • This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor.
  • Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty.
  • Her intention was not to help people.
  • She lied to donors about how their contributions were used.
  • She was working to expand the number of Catholics.

Mother Teresa Awards

Mother Teresa receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on December 11, 1979
  • 1962: Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding, given for work in South or East Asia.
  • 1962: Padma Shri by the Indian government, India’s fourth-highest civilian award.
  • 1962: The Magsaysay Prize, by the Conference of Asiatic States.
  • 1969: The Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
  • 1970: Good Samaritan Prize and the Kennedy Foundation Prize, by the United States.
  • 1971: Pope John XXIII Peace Prize by the Vatican for work with the poor, display of Christian charity, and efforts for peace.
  • 1973: Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, by the British government.
  • 1975: Albert Schweitzer International Prize for humanitarian work, by the United States.
  • 1976: La Storta Medal for Human Service from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania in April 1976.
  • 1976: Pacem in Terris Award in 1976.
  • 1977: Honorary doctorate, by Cambridge University, England.
  • 1979: Balzan Prize, by the Italian government for promoting humanity, peace, and brotherhood among peoples.
  • 1979: The Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress.
  • 1980: Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
  • 1985: Presidential Medal of Honor, by the U.S. government.
  • 1987: Soviet Peace Committee Gold Medal for promoting peace and friendship among people.
  • 1990: International Leo Tolstoy Medal, by the Soviet government.
  • 1992: Peace Education Prize from UNESCO.
  • 1994: Golden Honour of the Nation by the Albanian government.
  • 1996: Made an honorary citizen of the United States, by the U.S. government.

Other Mother Teresa Achievements

  • 1992: Mother Teresa’s official biography was published by Navin Chawla.
  • In Kolkata, she is worshipped as a deity by some Hindus.
  • 16 November 1996: Mother Teresa received Citizenship in the United States.
  • On 28 August 2010 on the 100th anniversary of her birth, the government of India issued a special ₹5 coin. When she arrived in India she had only the amount of ₹5.
  • 1987: She received a doctor’s degree in social science from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania for her service and to help the destitute and sick.
  • Mother Teresa was selected among the top 10 women in the annual Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll 18 times. In 1999 she was at the top of the Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

Commemoration of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa’s Commemoration in Albania:

  • 19th October as Mother Teresa Day is a public holiday in Albania.
  • The airport located in Tirana which is the capital of Albania is named the Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza in 2002 to memorize Mother Teresa.
  • Mother Teresa Square is named after her in Tirana which is the second-largest Square in Tirana.
  • In 2009 the Memorial House of Mother Teresa was opened in her hometown of Skopje, North Macedonia.
  • The Roman Catholic cathedral in Pristina, Kosovo, is named for Teresa’s honor.
  • On 5 September 2017, St. Teresa Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic cathedral named in Teresa’s honor, was consecrated in Kosovo.

Mother Teresa’s Commemoration in India:

  • The “Park Street” of Calcutta was renamed to “Mother Teresa Sarani”.
  • In 1984, Mother Teresa Women’s University in Kodaikanal was established as a public university by the Tamil Nadu government.
  • In 1999, The Mother Theresa Postgraduate and Research Institute of Health Sciences, in Pondicherry, was established in 1999 Puducherry government.
  • On 26 August 2010 Indian Railways introduced the “Mother Express”, a new train to remembered of her birth.
  • On 5 September 2013, the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death has been declared as the International Day of Charity by the United Nations General Assembly.

In 2012, Teresa was ranked number 5 in Outlook India’s poll of the Greatest Indian.

Best Quotes on Mother Teresa

Some famous people said some famous lines on Mother Teresa. read them below:

  • “Clad in a white sari with a blue border, she and the sisters of Missionaries of Charity became a symbol of hope to many – the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.” – Pratibha Patil
  • “A rare and unique individual who lived long for higher purposes. Her life-long devotion to the care of the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged was one of the highest examples of service to our humanity.” – Nawaz Sharif (Former Prime Minister of Pakistan)
  • “She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world.” – Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (former U.N. Secretary)

Best Mother Teresa Quotes

  • “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
  • “Give, but give until it hurts.”
  • “Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?”
  • “The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.”
  • “One truly must have suffered oneself to help others.”
  • “‎Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

Read more Mother Teresa Quotes

Interesting Facts about Mother Teresa

  • She was born on 26 August, but it was considered 27 August as her true birthday after she was baptized.
  • Her father was an Albanian community politician who died in 1919.
  • On religious pilgrimage at the age of 12, she experienced her calling to devote her life to Christ.
  • Teresa’s father was an Albanian grocer and community politician. When she was eight years old her father died.
  • Mother Teresa’s father was born in Prizren (Now in Kosovo), and her mother was from a village near Gjakova.
  • It was believed that her father was killed by Serbian agents by giving poison.

Read more interesting facts about her.

Books on Mother Teresa

List Books of Mother Teresa:

  1. A Gift for God: Prayers and Meditations
  2. The Love of Christ: Spiritual Counsels
  3. In the Silence of the Heart
  4. Words to Love by
  5. Suffering Into Joy
  6. Rosary Meditations from Mother Teresa of Calcutta
  7. Jesus, the Word to Be Spoken
  8. Love: A Fruit Always in Season
  9. Mary, Mother of Reconciliations
  10. One heart full of love
  11. Loving Jesus
  12. Best Gift is Love: Meditations
  13. In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories, and Prayers
  14. The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living
  15. Meditations from a Simple path
  16. Blessings of Love
  17. No Greater Love
  18. A Simple Path
  19. Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Fruitful Branch on the Vine, Jesus
  20. Thirsting for God: A Yearbook of Meditations
  21. Love: The Words and Inspiration of Mother Teresa
  22. Where there is love, there is God
  23. A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve
  24. Reaching out in love
  25. My Dear Children: Mother Teresa’s Last Message

Read here full list of Mother Teresa Books.

Know Also:

Mother Teresa’s Best Book Quotes:

Read her full timeline.

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