Episode #6 of the course “Incredible female leaders through history”
The woman commonly known as Mother Teresa is officially recognized as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta by the Catholic church, but she was born Anjeze (“Agnes”) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. An Albanian-born Roman Catholic 20th-century nun, Mother Teresa is known for founding the Missionaries of Charity and promoting awareness of human rights efforts. After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she continued to impress the world with her humility and devotion until her death in 1997.
Born in 1910, Agnes left home at age 18 to join a nunnery, which she felt called to do since about 12 years old. She learned English in Ireland before traveling to India, where she chose the name Teresa in tribute to St. Therese. She soon became a figure of local charity.
Struck by a “call within a call” to help the poorest of the poor, Teresa spent the 1940s enhancing a network of schools, medical facilities, and religious buildings for the poorest of India’s poor. Throughout the 1950s, she was becoming commonly known as Mother Teresa instead of Sister, and she requested permission from the Catholic church to found an official ministry. Her ministry, the Missionaries of Charity, supported homes for the dying, orphanages, and leper houses. Her congregation became international, and by 1970 it was on every continent.
After being recognized as a symbol of international peace through the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa again captivated the world in 1982 by marching through a temporary cease-fire to personally rescue injured orphans. She spent the 1980s and 1990s shaking hands with world leaders, presidents, royalty, and diplomats, as well as holding the hands of the dying impoverished around the world. As her health declined, Mother Teresa continued to serve. One miracle has been officially attributed to her by the Catholic church, and with the confirmation of a second miracle, the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta can be beatified as “Saint” Teresa.
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.”
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.”
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