Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was born in Skopje (North Macedonia) on 26 August 1910 and she was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor and sick. She has been considered one of the 20th Century's greatest humanitarians and was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016 by Pope Francis.
She spent most of her life in India, more precisely in Calcutta, where she completely dedicated her life to helping people in need, reflecting the Christian value of charity.
Discover more about the life of this very famous Catholic Saint.
Who was Mother Teresa?
Nun and missionary Mother Teresa devoted her whole life to caring for the sick and poor. Born from Albanian-descent parents and having taught in India for 17 years, she experienced her "call within a call" in 1946. Her order established a hospice; centers for the blind, aged and disabled; and a leper colony for the people of Calcutta.
Due to her charity acts and humanitarian work in India, in 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that received together with great personalities of contemporary history, such as the Dalai Lama (1989) and Nelson Mandela (1993).
Died in 1997 at the age of 87, she was beatified in October 2003 by Pope Francis who, in December 2015, recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized on September 4, 2016.
Since she established the Missionaries of Charity, the blue-and-white sari has become her most iconic sign of recognition and it is depicted in many works of art, like the mosaic below.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mosaic, Savelli Mosaic Gallery
Call within a call
In August 1946, Calcutta was the scene of bloody clashes and the city got paralized for many days. During these days of crisis, Mother Teresa went to look for some food and was impressed by the devastation that the city was suffering. After a few days, on 10 September, Mother Teresa experienced a second calling from God, the so-called “call within a call” that would forever transform her life. While riding in a train from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills, she said Christ spoke to her and told her to abandon teaching to work in the slums of Calcutta, aiding the city’s poorest and sickest people. Almost two years after the call within a call, in January 1948, she completely embraced God's will and dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick, as a sign of trust, love and compassion for the needy.
Are you devoted to Saint Teresa of Calcutta and want to do something for your neighbor too? Pray for her intercession with the religious medal which represents her and ask this Saint to give you her strong faith and will to help others. It will be inspiring for you!
The Missionaries of Charity: what is compassion?
After she received the official permission to leave the Loreto convent and pursue her new calling, in August 1948 she started wearing the blue-and-white sari that she would wear in public for the rest of her life and started wandering out into the city. After six months of basic medical training, she voyaged for the first time into Calcutta’s slums, trying to offer her experience and help to the unwanted, the unloved and the uncared.
Two years later, in 1950, she established the Catholic congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, whose members have to adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and the fourth vow, to give wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.
Through their acts of love and charity, this Catholic order is the clearest actuation of Jesus’ teachings towards the poor, the sick and all those people who do not have anything or anyone to count on.
The life and dedication of St. Teresa and her missionaries teach us what compassion is: they teach us what it means to behave like a good Christian towards our neighbor, to always reach out to those less fortunate than us, because this is what Jesus Christ himself did during his life on earth.
Whatever you are doing for someone, just always remember that good generates good and love and compassion are two of the pillars of Christianity.
Act according to faith… you will never go wrong. And remember that: