Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

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Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker, Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta

(born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu; Albanian: 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia 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 which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012.

The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools.

Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.

Nun and missionary Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

Born in Macedonia to parents of Albanian-descent and having taught in India for 17 years, Mother Teresa experienced her “call within a call” in 1946. Her order established a hospice; centers for the blind, aged and disabled; and a leper colony.

In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003. In December 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized on September 4, 2016.

One of Mother Teresa’s first assignments was to teach, and eventually to serve as principal, in a girls’ high school in Calcutta. Although the school was close to the slums (terribly poor sections), the students were mainly wealthy.

In 1946 Mother Teresa experienced what she called a second vocation or “call within a call.” She felt an inner urging to leave the convent life (life of a nun) and work directly with the poor.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

In 1948 the Vatican (residence of the pope in Vatican City, Italy) gave her permission to leave the Sisters of Loretto and to start a new work under the guidance of the Archbishop of Calcutta.

On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.

In later years, she was more active in western developed countries. She commented that though the West was materially prosperous, there was often a spiritual poverty.

After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, she returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

She started an open-air school for homeless children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and she received financial support from church organizations and the municipal authorities.

On 21 December she went for the first time to the slums. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Vatican to start her own order. Vatican originally labeled the order as the Diocesan Congregation of the Calcutta Diocese, and it later came to known as the “Missionaries of Charity”. The primary task of the Missionaries of Charity was to take care of those persons who nobody was prepared to look after.

On 10 September 1946, Teresa experienced what she later described as “the call within the call” when she travelled by train to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling from Calcutta 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 Lang ford 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, spent several months in Patna 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.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

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”.

Mother Teresa’s parents, Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, were of Albanian descent; her father was an entrepreneur who worked as a construction contractor and a trader of medicines and other goods.

The Bojaxhius were a devoutly Catholic family, and Nikola was deeply involved in the local church as well as in city politics as a vocal proponent of Albanian independence.

A year later, Sister Mary Teresa traveled on to Darjeeling, India, for the novitiate period; in May 1931, she made her First Profession of Vows.

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Afterward she was sent to Calcutta, where she was assigned to teach at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, a school run by the Loreto Sisters and dedicated to teaching girls from the city’s poorest Bengali families.

Sister Teresa learned to speak both Bengali and Hindi fluently as she taught geography and history and dedicated herself to alleviating the girls’ poverty through education.

Mother Teresa- History, Award & Socialist Worker

Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Temple ton and Magsaysay awards.

Awards given to Mother Teresa

• The first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. (1971)
• Kennedy Prize (1971)
• The Nehru Prize –“for promotion of international peace and understanding”(1972)
• Albert Schweitzer International Prize (1975),
• The Nobel Peace Prize (1979)
• States Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985)
• Congressional Gold Medal (1994)
• U Thant Peace Award 1994
• Honorary citizenship of the United States (November 16, 1996),


On 5 September Mother Teresa’s earthly life came to an end. She died on September 5, 1997, just 9 days after her 87th birthday. She was given the honor of a state funeral by the Government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity.

Her tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike. Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity.

Her response to Jesus’ plea, “Come be My light,” made her a Missionary of Charity, a “mother to the poor,” a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God. Following Mother Teresa’s death, the Holy See began the process of beatification, the second step towards possible canonization, or sainthood.

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