19 December 2015

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Facts Short Biography of Saint Mother Teresa

Facts Short Biography of Saint Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa said "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

Mother Teresa never converted anyone to her religion.

In her own eyes she was "God's pencil—a tiny bit of pencil with which he writes what he likes."

Name - Mother Teresa also known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC
Birth Name - Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu

Born on - 26 August 1910
Baptized on August 27, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia
Üsküp, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia.
Her birthplace of Skopje, now capital of the Republic of Macedonia, was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918, when it became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

After having lived in Macedonia for some eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.

Died –
Died on 5th September 1997 (aged 87)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India

5 September 2013, the anniversary of her death has been designated as the International Day of Charity by the United Nations General Assembly.

About Family –
Parents Name -  Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, were of Albanian descent;
Nikola was an entrepreneur who worked as a construction contractor and a trader of medicines and other goods.
He was also heavily involved in the politics of the day.
Five children were born to Nikola and Dronda Bojaxhiu, yet only three survived. Gonxha was the youngest, with an older sister, Aga, and brother, Lazar.

In 1919, when Agnes was only 8 years old, her father suddenly fell ill and died.

Mother Teresa later revealed that until she reached 18, she had never thought of being a nun. During her early years, however, she was fascinated with stories of missionary life and service. She could locate any number of missions on the map, and tell others of the service being given in each place.

In the 1960s, the life of Mother Teresa was first brought to a wider public attention by Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote a book and produced a documentary called “Something Beautiful for God”.

Journey towards becoming The Mother Teresa

Agnes left home in 1928 at the age of 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland
She never again saw her mother or her sister. Her family continued to live in Skopje until 1934, when they moved to Tirana in Albania.

In 1928, the future Mother Teresa began her religious life in Ireland, far from her family and the life she'd known, never seeing her mother again in this life, speaking a language few understood. During this period a sister novice remembered her as "very small, quiet and shy," and another member of the congregation described her as "ordinary."

Coming to British India

She arrived in India in 1929, and began her novitiate in Darjeeling, near the Himalayan mountains, where she learnt Bengali and taught at St. Teresa's School, a schoolhouse close to her convent.
She took her first religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931.
At that time, she chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, but because one nun in the convent had already chosen that name, Agnes opted for the Spanish spelling of Teresa.

it was time for the new Sister Teresa to begin her years of service to God's people. She was sent to St. Mary's, a high school for girls in a district of Calcutta.

Sister Teresa learned to speak both Bengali and Hindi

While living in Calcutta during the 1930s and '40s, she taught in St. Mary's Bengali Medium School.

Here she began a career teaching history and geography, which she reportedly did with dedication and enjoyment for the next 15 years. It was in the protected environment of this school for the daughters of the wealthy that Teresa's new "vocation" developed and grew.

She took her solemn vows on 14 May 1937, while serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in Entally, eastern Calcutta.
Teresa served there for almost twenty years and in 1944 was appointed headmistress.

On May 24, 1937, she took her Final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. As was the custom for Loreto nuns, she took on the title of "Mother" upon making her final vows and thus became known as Mother Teresa.

Sister Teresa was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta.
The Bengal famine of 1943 brought misery and death to the city; and the outbreak of Hindu/Muslim violence in August 1946 plunged the city into despair and horror.

Sister Teresa pursued every avenue to follow what she "never doubted" was the direction God was pointing her. She was "to give up even Loreto where she was very happy and to go out in the streets.

Transformation of Mother Teresa –

I, Mother Teresa heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.

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.

On 10 September 1946 during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her “inspiration,” her “call within a call.” On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life. Over the course of the next weeks and months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for “victims of love” who would “radiate His love on souls.” “Come be My light,” He begged her. “I cannot go alone.” He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin.

Since Mother Teresa had taken a vow of obedience, she could not leave her convent without official permission. After nearly a year and a half of hard work, in January 1948 she finally received approval from the local Archbishop Ferdinand Périer to pursue this new calling.

She had to confront the Church's resistance to forming new religious communities, and receive permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to serve the poor openly on the streets. She had to figure out how to live and work on the streets, without the safety and comfort of the convent. As for clothing, Teresa decided she would set aside the habit she had worn during her years as a Loreto sister and wear the ordinary dress of an Indian woman: a plain white sari and sandals.

That August, donning the blue-and-white sari that she would always wear in public for the rest of her life, she left the Loreto convent and wandered out into the city

For many years, Mother Teresa and a small band of fellow nuns survived on minimal income and food, often having to beg for funds.

Mother Teresa spent few months in Patna to receive a basic medical training in the Holy Family Hospital and then ventured out into the slums.

In 1948 she received permission from Pius XII to leave her community and live as an independent nun. So back to Calcutta she went and found a small hovel to rent to begin her new undertaking.

she voyaged for the first time into Calcutta's slums with no more specific goal than to aid "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for."

On 21 December she went for the first time to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of some children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and TB. She started each day in communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him in “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students.

she started a school in Motijhil, Calcutta -

she thought to start by teaching the children of the slums, an endeavor she knew well. Though she had no proper equipment, she made use of what was available—writing in the dirt. She strove to make the children of the poor literate, to teach them basic hygiene. As they grew to know her, she gradually began visiting the poor and ill in their families and others all crowded together in the surrounding squalid shacks, inquiring about their needs.

Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulties. She had no income and had to resort to begging for food and supplies. Teresa experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months. She wrote in her diary:
    "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."

Within a year, many came forward to help Teresa.
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.

It began as a small congregation with 13 members in Calcutta; by 1997 it had grown to more than 4,000 sisters running orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centers worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless, and victims of floods, epidemics, and famine.

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Mother Teresa expanded the work of the Missionaries of Charity both within Calcutta and throughout India.

In 1952, Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying

Those brought to the home received medical attention and were afforded the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the rituals of their faith; Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites. "A beautiful death," she said, "is for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted."

Mother Teresa soon opened a home for those suffering from Hansen's disease, commonly known as leprosy, and called the hospice Shanti Nagar (City of Peace).
The Missionaries of Charity also established several leprosy outreach clinics throughout Calcutta, providing medication, bandages and food.

In 1955 she opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children's Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth.

The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.

In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers, and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Yet her inspiration was not limited to those with religious vocations. She formed the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, people of many faiths and nationalities with whom she shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and her apostolate of humble works of love. This spirit later inspired the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests as a “little way of holiness” for those who desire to share in her charism and spirit.

In 1982, at the height of the Siege of Beirut, Mother Teresa rescued 37 children trapped in a front line hospital by brokering a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas. Accompanied by Red Cross workers, she travelled through the war zone to the devastated hospital to evacuate the young patients.

Mother Teresa travelled to assist and minister to the hungry in Ethiopia, radiation victims at Chernobyl, and earthquake victims in Armenia.
In 1991, Mother Teresa returned for the first time to her homeland and opened a Missionaries of Charity Brothers home in Tirana, Albania.

From the late 1980s through the 1990s, despite increasing health problems, Mother Teresa travelled across the world for the profession of novices, opening of new houses, and service to the poor and disaster-stricken.

Mother Teresa wrote many letters to her confessors and superiors over a 66-year period, most notably to Calcutta Archbishop Ferdinand Perier and a Jesuit priest, Celeste van Exem, who had been her spiritual advisor since the formation of the Missionaries of Charity.

She had asked that her letters be destroyed, concerned that "people will think more of me—less of Jesus."Despite this request, the correspondences have been compiled in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday).

criticism of Mother Teresa –
In 1995, she publicly advocated a "no" vote in the Irish referendum to end the country's constitutional ban on divorce and remarriage. The most scathing criticism of Mother Teresa can be found in Christopher Hitchens's book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, in which Hitchens argued that Mother Teresa glorified poverty for her own ends and provided a justification for the preservation of institutions and beliefs that sustained widespread poverty.

Despite this widespread praise, Mother Teresa's life and work have not gone without criticism. In particular, she has drawn criticism for her vocal endorsement of some of the Catholic Church's more controversial doctrines, such as opposition to contraception and abortion. "I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion," Mother Teresa said in her 1979 Nobel lecture.

Christopher Hitchens accused her of hypocrisy for opting to receive advanced treatment for her heart condition

In February 2015, Mohan Bhagwat, leader of the Hindu right-wing organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said that her objective was "to convert the person, who was being served, into a Christian"
Former RSS spokesperson MG Vaidhya backed Bhagwat's remarks.

Awards –
Among the 124 Awards Received:
Padmashree Award (from the President of India) August 1962
Pope John XXIII Peace Prize January 1971
John F. Kennedy International Award September 1971
Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding November 1972
Templeton Prize for "Progress in Religion" April 1973
Nobel Peace Prize December 1979
Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) March 1980
Order of Merit (from Queen Elizabeth) November 1983
Gold Medal of the Soviet Peace Committee August 1987
United States Congressional Gold Medal June 1997

Health Problems –
Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack in Rome in 1983 while visiting Pope John Paul II. After a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after a battle with pneumonia while in Mexico, she suffered further heart problems. She offered to resign her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity, but the sisters of the congregation, in a secret ballot, voted for her to stay. Mother Teresa agreed to continue her work as head of the congregation. [66]

In April 1996, Mother Teresa fell and broke her collar bone. In August she suffered from malaria and failure of the left heart ventricle. She had heart surgery but it was clear that her health was declining. The Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry Sebastian D'Souza, said he ordered a priest to perform an exorcism on Mother Teresa with her permission when she was first hospitalized with cardiac problems because he thought she may be under attack by the devil.

Death –
Only months before her death, when she became too weak to manage the administrative work, she relinquished the position of head of her Missionaries of Charity.

After a summer of travelling to Rome, New York, and Washington, in a weak state of health, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta in July 1997.

At 9:30 PM, on 5 September, Mother Teresa died at the Motherhouse.
Her body was transferred to St Thomas's Church, next to the Loreto convent where she had first arrived nearly 69 years earlier.

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.

During her last few years, she met Princess Diana in the Bronx, New York. The two died within a week of each other.

Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa’s widespread reputation of holiness and the favors being reported, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On 20 December 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles.

After Mother Teresa's death in 1997, the Holy See began the process of beatification, the third step toward possible canonisation. This process requires the documentation of a miracle performed from the intercession of Mother Teresa
In 2002, the Vatican recognized as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture. Besra said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous tumor

The beatification of Mother Teresa took place on 19 October 2003, thereby bestowing on her the title "Blessed."

Saint Mother Teresa –
On December 17, 2015, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized as a saint in 2016. The second miracle involved the healing of a man in Santos, Brazil, who was diagnosed with a viral brain infection and lapsed into a coma. His wife, family and friends prayed to Mother Teresa and when the man was brought to the operating room for emergency surgery, he woke up without pain and cured of his symptoms, according to a statement from the Missionaries of Charity Father. Mother Teresa's canonization is expected to be scheduled for September 2016 around the date of her death.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tags – Facts Short Biography Autobiography Saint Mother Teresa History


Destination Infinity December 21, 2015  

Impressive biography. It takes a great heart to serve the poor like this.

Destination Infinity