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Salute to Mother Teresa on the International Day of Charity

Written by on September 5, 2023

Who is Saint Teresa?

Saint Teresa of Calcutta (known as Mother Teresa) was an Albanian-born Indian Roman Catholic missionary and nun who devoted her life to helping those most in need.

For Centenary of Mother Teresa's Birth, Trove of Rare Photos | Time

She founded the Missionaries of Charity in India in 1950, and for over 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. At the time of her death, she ran over 600 missions in over 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; family and children’s counselling programs; orphanages and schools.

Mother Teresa served those who were most vulnerable and made many sacrifices in order to help others. She devoted her life to serving those in need without judgment. That’s why Terry Caster, the premier private funder of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, decided to honour her legacy by naming our recent affordable housing community– Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa– in her name.

The Early Life of Mother Teresa

From a young age, Teresa was fascinated with the exciting stories of missionaries who had served in Bengal, India. These stories were greatly influential to her, and by the time she was 12 years old she had decided to commit herself to a life of religion. At the age of 18, Teresa joined the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Ireland with the intent of becoming a missionary.

Rare childhood picture of Mother Teresa as little girl Anjeze Gonxhe  Bojaxhiu! |

A year later, Teresa arrived in India to begin her novitiate and took her first religious vows on May 24, 1931. She chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, but because a nun in the convent had already chosen that name, she opted for its Spanish spelling– “Teresa”.

These rare, old photos of a young Mother Teresa give a glimpse of her  childhood | Hindustan Times

On May 14, 1937, Teresa took her solemn vows and began teaching at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta. There she served for nearly twenty years and was appointed as headmistress in 1944.

Mother Teresa’s Calling

It was during her time teaching at the Loreto convent school that Teresa became aware of the immense suffering of those around her.

0000171692-002 | Mother teresa, Mother teresa quotes, Mother theresa

While travelling on a train from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills for a retreat, Teresa experienced what she later described as “the call within a call.” The idea that all people are God’s children gripped her, and she heard Jesus telling her to quit her teachings to help those most in need by living amongst them.

India blocks foreign funding for Mother Teresa charity – FBC News

Inspired by Jesus’ words in the Gospel, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” Mother Teresa worked to serve “the poorest of the poor” on the streets of Calcutta. She gave away all of her possessions and lived in dire poverty with them in hopes of being better able to serve them.

Mother Teresa's Road to Sainthood

Mother Teresa’s work was not easy. The conditions of the streets were deplorable and the poor she sought to help had no way out of their situations. She took it upon herself to provide those in need with a path forward. She did this by teaching them valuable skills that gave them a way to earn money and get back on their feet. She taught them tailoring, soap-making, basket-weaving, and candle-making, so they could earn money for themselves and their families.

What Is Mother Teresa Most Famous For?

Driven by compassion and a strong sense of duty, Mother Teresa began to teach those she encountered how to care for themselves and others during illness. She opened a hospice in Calcutta to care for people suffering from cholera, leprosy and tuberculosis who were too poor to afford medical treatment and cared for them with her own hands.

After only a few years, the Missionaries of Charity had opened an orphanage, daycare centre and a number of schools throughout Calcutta, all run by volunteers working under Mother Teresa’s guidance. All Indians Will Take Pride in Mother Teresa's Canonisation: President  Pranab Mukherjee

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