Welcome to the life of Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa (1910–1997) was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor and destitute around the world. She spent many years in Calcutta, India where she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation devoted to helping those in great need. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became a symbol of charitable, selfless work. In 2016, Mother Teresa was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa.
She experienced two particularly traumatic periods in Calcutta. The first was the Bengal famine of 1943 and the second was the Hindu/Muslim violence in 1946, before the partition of India. In 1948, she left the convent to live full-time among the poorest of Calcutta. She chose to wear a white Indian sari, with a blue border, out of respect for the traditional Indian dress. For many years, Mother Teresa and a small band of fellow nuns survived on minimal income and food, often having to beg for funds. But, slowly her efforts with the poorest were noted and appreciated by the local community and Indian politicians.
Her work spread around the world. By 2013, there were 700 missions operating in over 130 countries. The scope of their work also expanded to include orphanages and hospices for those with terminal illnesses.
The Missionaries of Charity now has branches throughout the world including branches in the developed world where they work with the homeless and people affected by AIDS. In 1965, the organisation 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.
Over the last two decades of her life, Mother Teresa suffered various health problems, but nothing could dissuade her from fulfilling her mission of serving the poor and needy. Until her very last illness she was active in travelling around the world to the different branches of The Missionaries of Charity. During her last few years, she met Princess Diana in the Bronx, New York. The two died within a week of each other.
Awards given to Mother Teresa
- The first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. (1971)
- Kennedy Prize (1971)
- The Nehru Prize –“for the 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),
Clancy's comment: A selfless woman with massive vision.