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Celebrating Mother Teresa: The Saint of Calcutta

Anjezë Gonxhe was born in Macedonia. By the time she was 12, she felt a strong conviction that her service to man was via religion. At 18, she left her family and headed to Ireland to the join Sisters of Loreto to learn English. With a grasp of the language, she went to Darjeeling, India in 1929 where she was taught Bengali. Two years later, she took a celibacy oath and was rechristened, Teresa.

In 1937, she was appointed a teacher at the Loreto Convent School in Calcutta.

In 1946, she got a revelation to leave the convent, “Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross…I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health.” She became an Indian citizen and went to the Holy Family Hospital to gain medical knowledge.

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 15, 1997 shows Mother Teresa greeting people at the Missionaries of Charity For Destitute Children in New Delhi. Mother Teresa, the revered but controversial nun whose work with the dying and the destitute made her an icon of 20th Century Christianity, declared a saint by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016.

Upon completion, she found a place within the slums. She had trouble with funds and supplies but her faith continued to grow. In 1949, 13 women joined her mission. Before long, the prime minister of India also took notice. In 1950, the Vatican allowed her found the Missionaries of Charity. In 1952, Indian officials offered her a Hindu temple to use.

A short while later, the charity attracted over 4,000 sisters and had orphanages, centres for the disadvantaged including, leprous, AIDS, Refugees, the Blind and Alcoholics. By 1996, it expanded to over 100 countries.
Mother Teresa experienced a series of health complications including two heart attacks. When she offered to resign, the Missionaries of Charity voted that she stay.

However, in 1996, she broke her collarbone after a fall. In March 1997, she resigned and died on this day. United Nations describing her said, “She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world.”

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