An iconic figure – Mother Teresa
“The greatest disease is being unwanted, uncared for; deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity”- Mother Teresa.
Challenges don’t define you, they build you to be independent and survive any situation in the future. Many great people in history didn’t start as perfect individuals, they earned it. They were taught and branded by the life which made them a better person.
Who would live her life for others, making selfless decisions and taking actions for progressive health and well being of humanity?
Mother Teresa born Agnes Teresa Bojaxihu on the 26th of August 1910 in Skopje (located in the Ottoman Empire and ruled by the Turks in the 15th and 16th century). She was born to Kosovar Albanian grocers (Nikollë and Dranajile Bojaxhiu) and the last of three children. She attended a public school in Skopje where she began to show religious interest by being a member of a school society that spread religious sermon and beliefs in foreign countries.
When she was 8 years of age, her happy, comfortable life took a drastic turn when her father died. Interested and fascinated she was about the ministries and their humility services to people that she decided at 12 to commit herself into the spiritual life of the church. At eighteen, she left home to join The Sisters of Loretto (Irish nuns). She learned the English Language with a goal in mind. The major language of the Sisters was English and that was the last time she saw her family again. She received training in several countries and took her vows. Her first assignment was to teach and she later served as a principal in a wealthy girl’s high school in Calcutta. She observed she taught close to slums were the destitute lived. Then her concern for the poor grew. She made a sacrifice leaving the convent and working directly with the poor in which her permission was granted by the Vatican and started to work under the guidance of the Archbishop of Calcutta. She took intensive medical training with the American Medical Missionary Sisters in Patna, India.
“Life isn’t worth living unless lived for others”- Mother Teresa.
Achievements and missions
All of her achievements weren’t gained in a year or a day. It took days and even years to build careers of young ones, build the future and hope of people despite the fact the death of her father took a toll on her life, she wasn’t self-centered or wicked. Her achievements are listed below:
1. She founded the Missionaries of charity which was announced officially as a religious foundation in 1950. A Roman Catholic religious community that had 4500 nuns and active in numerous countries worldwide. Its functions were to cater for the hungry, naked, homeless, crippled, diseased, untaught, uncared for and the shunned ones from the society. She was assisted financially by supporters and volunteers.
2. She opened her first hospice in 1952. It was a hospice for those with leprosy and named it Shanti Nagar (City of Peace). She also converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Khalighat Home for the dying which was later named Kalighat, the Home for Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday).
3. She opened Shishu Bhavan ( The Children’s Home of the Immaculate Heart as a haven for orphans, abandoned and homeless youth)
4. She founded the Corpus Christi Movement for priests with the assistance of a priest.
5. In 1982, she rescued 37 trapped children in a hospital by brokering a ceasefire between the Palestinian soldiers and the Israeli army. She was then accompanied by Red Cross workers who traveled through the war zone to evaluate the trapped patient.
6. She assisted the hungry in Ethiopia, the radiation victims in Chernobyl and Earthquake victims in America.
7. She opened the Missionaries of Charity Brother Home in Tirana.
8. By 1991, she operated 517 missions in over 100 countries. Her missionaries of charity grew with the purpose of serving the destitute.
9. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
In 1988 she sent her missionary into Russia and America to open a home for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) patients.
The soul goals of her mission were: shelters for the dying, orphanages, home for the ill and the poor.
Though her several severe illnesses, setback, strong criticism and condemnation; she was undeterred. She died a hero, a philanthropist, a mother to all, a legend and lastly an icon. You don’t have to be wealthy to help others, with the little you’ve, who knows: you may change the lives of people for good. Challenges are debris in our life journey, it’s an inevitable encounter, and you conquer it like a warrior like Teresa.