Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on 26 August 1910.
She felt the call of god at the age 12 and knew she had to spread the love of Christ. She left home at age 18, to join the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.
She was shortly sent to India by the mission where she took her vows as a nun in 1931. From then on she taught at the St. Mary's High School in Calcutta.
The poverty around, distressed her. In 1948 she left the convent school and devoted herself to the service of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Without any funds, she started an open-air school for slum children, which soon attracted volunteers and material support.
After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, she found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Calcutta. On 21 December she went for the first time to the slums.
On 7 October 1950, Mother Teresa started her own order, The Missionaries of Charity to serve the poor. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI. The society is spread all over the world: Asia, Africa, and Latin America, fomer soviet union and other European countries, and works for victims of catastrophes and epidemics, homeless, alcoholics, and AIDS patients.
By 1997, Mother Teresa’s Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world.
For her service, she recieved the Nobel (1979), Nehru Prize (1972), the Balzan Prize (1979), Padmashri Award and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards.
The Vatican site says, "Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa’s widespread reputation of holiness and the favours being reported, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On 20 December 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles."
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Updated Date: Aug 26, 2011 19:36:23 IST