Inspiring Women Series: Mother Teresa

October 7, 2020

Peace begins with a smile ~ Mother Teresa 

Inspiring Women Series: Mother Teresa

Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu,  August 26, 1910 - September 5, 1997, honored in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was an  Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje, part of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Skopje for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.

In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns  and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also runs soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children's and family counseling programs, as well as orphanages and schools. Members take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and also profess a fourth vow – to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.

Teresa received a number of honors, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. The anniversary of her death (5 September) is her feast day. A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticized on various counts, such as for her views on abortion and contraception, and was criticized for poor conditions in her houses for the dying.

Teresa left home in 1928 at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfamham,  Ireland, to learn English with the view of becoming a missionary; English was the language of instruction of the Sisters of Loreto in India. She never saw her mother or her sister again.  Her family lived in Skopje until 1934, when they moved to Tirana.

On 10 September 1946, Teresa experienced what she later described as "the call within the call" when she traveled by train to the for her annual retreat. "I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith." Joseph Langford later wrote, "Though no one knew it at the time, Sister Teresa had just become Mother Teresa".

She began missionary work with the poor in 1948, replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. Teresa adopted Indian citizenship to receive basic medical training at Holy Family Hospital and ventured into the slums. She founded a school in Motijhil, Kolkata, before she began tending to the poor and hungry. At the beginning of 1949 Teresa was joined in her effort by a group of young women, and she laid the foundation for a new religious community helping the "poorest among the poor".

Her efforts quickly caught the attention of Indian officials, including the prime minister. Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulty. With no income, she begged for food and supplies and experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months:

Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross. Today, I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then, the comfort of Loreto [her former congregation] came to tempt me. "You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again", the Tempter kept on saying. ... Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come.

Her declining health:

Teresa had a heart attack in Rome in 1983 while she was visiting Pope John Paul II.  In 1991, after a bout of pneumonia in Mexico, she had additional heart problems. 

In April 1996 she fell, breaking her collarbone, and four months later she had malaria and heart failure. Although Teresa had heart surgery, her health was clearly declining. According to Archbishop of Calcutta, he ordered a priest to perform an exorcism (with her permission) when she was first hospitalized with cardiac problems because he thought she might be under attack by the devil.

On 13 March 1997 Teresa resigned as head of the Missionaries of Charity, and she died on 5 September.

Information found on Wikipedia page

 

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your Name:
Your Comment:

    No comments currently. Be the first to comment!

All Rights Reserved 2020, Unraveling My Heart the Write Way - Admin Login   |   Alt Media Studios