Love cannot remain by itself–it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service. Whatever form we are, able or disabled, rich or poor, it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing; a lifelong sharing of love with others.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta , is the Albanian-born founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity?a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to the poor, particularly to the destitute of India. She was the recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Peace.
None in the twentieth century has touched as many hearts as a simple Albanian-born woman, known universally as Mother Teresa. From her tiny frame exuded an infinite expanse of concern and compassion ? offering millions of people a glimpse into a world of perfect dedication to a higher reality. The sacrifices and austerities she endured are incomprehensible to the mind but easily appreciated, admired and adored by the heart; for, Mother Teresa was nothing other than pure love.
Mother Teresa enlightened humanity to an ancient spiritual belief all too rare in the modern world ? that the highest form of satisfaction can be achieved on earth through the selfless service of the God in humanity. Indeed, she said, she saw everyone she served as Jesus and through her love of God, expanded her love for humanity.
Day in and day out, Mother Teresa gave herself to the poor, destitute and unloved with an unwavering strength and spirit borne of her intense life of spiritual disciple. She was the practical embodiment of the perfect disciple of Christ ? serving Jesus sleeplessly and breathlessly, but without a trace of pride, feeling that her Jesus was a Hindu?s Krishna or a Muslim?s Mohammad.
Few in history have served the forgotten classes of humanity with as much zeal as Mother Teresa. She has reminded all of us that none can be left behind if we truly want to achieve a society and world of perfect peace and harmony.
The daughter of an Albanian grocer, she went to Ireland in 1928 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sailing, only six weeks later, to India as a teacher. She subsequently requested permission to work with the poor of Calcutta.
After studying nursing, Mother Teresa moved into the slums. Municipal authorities, upon her petition, gave her the pilgrim hostel near the sacred Kali’s temple where she founded her order in 1948. Sympathetic companions soon flocked to her aid. Dispensaries and outdoor schools were organized. Mother Teresa adopted Indian citizenship, and her Indian nuns all donned the sari as their habit. In 1950 her order received canonical sanction from Pope Pius XII, and in 1965 it became a pontifical congregation (subject only to the pope). The order opened numerous centres serving the blind, the aged, lepers, cripples, and the dying. Under Mother Teresa’s guidance, the Missionaries of Charity built, near Asansol, India, a leper colony called Shanti Nagar (Town of Peace). She continued to head the order, despite years of health problems, until her retirement in March 1997.
In 1963 the Indian government awarded Mother Teresa the Padmashri (?Lord of the Lotus?) for her services to the people of India. In 1964, on his trip to India, Pope Paul VI gave her his ceremonial limousine, which she immediately raffled to help finance her leper colony. In 1968 she was summoned to Rome to found a home there, staffed primarily with Indian nuns. In recognition of her apostolate, she was honoured on Jan. 6, 1971, by Pope Paul, who awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. Her missionary activity was recognized with the award of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979.
In the late 1970s the Missionaries of Charity numbered more than 1,000 nuns who operated 60 centres in Calcutta and more than 200 worldwide centres, including foundations in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Jordan, Venezuela, Great Britain, and Australia.
-source (?Mother Teresa?, Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Timeline of Mother Teresa’s Life
August 27, 1910
Born Agnes Gonxha in Skopje, in what is now Macedonia, to Nikolai and Dranafile Bojaxhiu
1918 Her father dies of poisoning by his political enemies
1922 Begins to desire to be in service for the Church
1925 Feels called to work in India
1926 Decides to become a nun; most of her family and friends protest
1928 Leaves Skopje by train for Paris and then to Ireland where she learns English
1929 Becomes a novice and takes the name Sister Mary Teresa of the Child Jesus, later shortened to Sister Teresa
First Vows of Poverty
1931 Takes her first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; a little while later, travels to Calcutta where she teaches
1935 Feels touched to help the poor on the streets in Calcutta
1937 Takes her final vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in Darjeeling; soon after becomes Mother Superior of the school in Calcutta
1946 God tells her to work with the “poorest of the poor”
1948 Starts teaching poor children; later opens 2 schools
Founds Missionaries of Charity
1950 Founds the Missionaries of Charity starting with 12 sisters
1952 Opens Nirmal Hriday, a home for the dying who were formerly left dying in the streets
1955 Starts Nirmal Shishu Bhavan for children and for young orphan prostitutes
1956 Begins working with lepers, the most reviled people in Calcutta
1960 Opens a home in Ranchi; within the next year opens three more homes in Delhi, Jhansi, and Agra; Prime Minister Nehru attends the inaugaration of the home in Delhi; speaks at the National Council of Catholic Women and travels throughout America; visits Rome where she reunties with her brother Lazar; meets the Pope
1962 Receives the Padma Shri award from the Indian Government for her humanitarian work
1983 Visits Pope John Paul II in Rome and has a heart attack there
1985 Awarded the highest US civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom
1989 Almost dies from a second heart attack
1990 Tries to step down from head of her order but is re-elected
1991 Has Pneumonia in Mexico which causes her to have congestive heart failure
1996 Becomes an honorary US citizen; is in and out of the hospital for various health problems throughout the year
1997 Resigns her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity
September 5, 1997 Passes away at age 87
Recipient of U Thant Peace Award and Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart Award from Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations