Mother Theresa, serving Humanity with Love and Compassion
It’s not possible to pronounce the words “Mother Teresa” without reverence and awe. Reverence because she was God’s own gift to humanity and awe because of her unfailing courage and incomparable service to the poor and destitute. This Roman Catholic nun was not just another missionary but one who dedicated her life so selflessly to a cause she believed in and to inspire others to follow her footsteps. Mother Teresa was born in Albania and was named Agnes by her parents. From her very young days she was very close to God and devoted herself to prayer and worship. She was only eight when her father died plunging the family in to a financial crisis. Agnes’ mother Drane however became both mother and father to the children and guided them in the correct path. It was her mother’s influence that led Agnes to become a missionary.
Her Goal in Life
As obedient as she was, Agnes was also very independent and would never bow down to anything she considered wrong. She was not averse to challenging anyone or anything that she regarded as going against her conscience even when it displeased her superiors. In 1928, Agnes decided to become a Catholic nun to follow her heart and spread God’s message of love and compassion to the world. It was then that she changed her name from Agnes Boiaxhiu to Teresa. Some time later she joined an Irish Order and at her request was sent to Calcutta in January 1929 to carry out missionary work where she first worked as a teacher and then became ‘Mother Teresa’ on 24th May 1937. She continued to work at St. Mary’s High School until 1948 but was all the time aware of the terrible conditions of the destitute people outside the walls of the convent and she felt a great need in her to serve those who dwelt in the slums of Calcutta. (Now Kolkata). Without any funds or the means to survive; she nonetheless had unshakable faith in the almighty and opened a school for children in the slums. Once she got it going, she had many volunteers to help her and the money started pouring in to enable her to improve and extend her services.
Missionaries of Charity that kept expanding
With the money she received and with the help she was getting from several missionary workers who joined her, she lost no time in establishing many facilities that helped not only the poor children but also adults and families that lacked even the basic infrastructures such as homes, hospitals and schools or even essentials like food, clean water and toilets. Not hesitating in what she had to do, she first learnt simple medical treatment and offered her services to those who could not afford to visit a doctor. Her efforts proved successful when other missionary groups in the area joined her to form the “Missionaries of charity’ and very soon they were bringing the poor and the dying from the streets to their institutions to be taken care of. People who recognized her noble cause did not dither in donating funds to Mother Teresa’s charity that kept growing all the time. By 1990, the Missionaries of charity had about one million workers engaged in charity work in about 40 countries across the globe.
Global Recognition and her Departure from this world
Although she received worldwide recognition and received more than 120 prestigious awards none of these were of importance to her except her determination to serve the poor. Among her many accolades was the “Padmashree” Award from the Indian President, the “Order of Merit: from Queen Elizabeth, the John F. Kennedy International Award, “The Pope John Peace Prize” “the Medal of Freedom” which is the highest award given to an US Civilian and of course the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa never stopped work despite ill health and continued to serve the needy. Her final trip abroad was to meet Pope John Paul II after which she returned to Calcutta to spend the last days of her life. She left this world on 5th September 1997 leaving millions of people bereft and grieving. Mother Teresa was a simple and frail woman that conquered the world with nothing but love and selflessness. What more can you ask of humanity?