Mother Teresa

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MOTHER TERESA Mother Theresa was a very prominent figure in the Catholic Church for many years. She was mostly associated with Calcutta, India - where she did most of her work. Inspired at a very early age she lived her life Christ wanted, doing everything to help the poorest of the poor.

Mother Teresa, or Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was born to Nikolle and Dranafille Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910. She was born in Shkup, which was in the center of the Ottoman Empire at the time (Present "" day Macedonia). The day after Agnes was born, she was baptized into the catholic faith. Unexpectedly, Agnes's father, who was a businessman and traveled a lot, died when Agnes was 9. Nikolle, her mother, was left to raise Agnes and her two older children alone. Nevertheless, Nikolle was very persistent in seeing that her children were educated. She worked sewing wedding dresses and embroidered.

She made sure they went to church and prayed the rosary everyday. Despite their own needs, Agnes and her family never closed the door to the poor who frequently paid visits to them. Another thing her mother did was take care of an alcoholic woman who lived in her neighborhood. Along with washing and feeding the alcoholic woman twice a day, Nikolle also cared for a widow with six children. Agnes would go with her mother and go help when her mother could not. When the widow died, Nikolle took them in and cared for them as her own. In addition to helping the poor, Agnes loved to read, sing and go to church. She was in the choir with her sister, Aga, and went to the Lyceum school.

At the early age of 12, Agnes started to think about spending her life dedicated to fulfilling God's works. When she was 16, Agnes attended several religious retreats that helped her realize that God was calling her. Two years later, when she was 18, Agnes joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto, a dynamic Irish group of sisters throughout active in India. In 1937, she took her vow into the ministry after being trained in Dublin. There, Agnes changed her name to Teresa, in honor of the patron saint of foreign missionaries, St. Teresa of Lisieux. The poor and sick on Calcutta's streets first struck Teresa when she was the principal of a catholic high school. At last she was given leave to work on the streets. While working with the sick and dying, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, perhaps the most famous congregation of missions in the world. Among many of the duties performed, Teresa thought that teaching the poor children how to read was the most important. Showing that she does indeed help and serve the "poorest of the poor", Teresa opened her missions to lepers in 1950. Because of her enormous generosity at the mission, she earned a nickname that would become her trademark, "Mother" Teresa. Later, in 1965, the Pope gave full approval to Mother Teresa and encouraged her to spread her missions worldwide. As time moved on, the Missionaries of Charity began to offer assistance to the blind and people dying of AIDS.

Near the end of Mother Teresa's life, the Missionaries of Charity had spread to 100 different countries with 517 missions. In 1969, Mother Teresa became a household name when there was a British telecast special about her and her missions. For more than 30 long years, she had run her missions. In 1997, Mother Teresa turned 87. For her whole 87 years of her life, she had worked only for others and never for herself. Naturally, she was in very bad heath. On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa died of a heart attack. At the time, it was a period of mourning and lamentations. But it was also a time of rejoicing in all of her good works and thinking about how she is with God in heaven. The four foot 11 inches Mother Teresa was laid to rest soon after she died.

In my opinion, Mother Teresa is one, if not the greatest living example of what God intended humans to be like. She has had a tremendous influence millions of Christians around the world. She was more than deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was presented to her in 1979. In her speech, she did not talk about what she did to deserve it, her history or all of her good deeds, but instead she accepted the prize on behalf of the sick and dying. She said, "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." Someone who has so much love inside them that could melt a heart of stone truly has the grace of God in their soul forever.