The Life And Legacy Of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was a diligent and hard-working woman whose love for the Lord aided her in sharing the gospel throughout her missions. She continuously worked to selflessly serve the Lord and help others learn about him as well. Through every trial she endured, Mother Teresa never lost faith in the Lord and his future plans for her.

Mother Teresa was born to Nikolle and Dranafile Bojaxhiu in Skopje and was the youngest child of the Albanian couple. She was born on August 26, 1910 and came to Christ by being baptized the following day as Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, a date she considered her ‘true birthday’. She received her First Communion when she was five and a half. Mother Teresa was also raised in a devout Catholic family where her father was an entrepreneur and her mother was an activist in the local church activities. The tragic death of her father happened when she was only eight years old and became extremely close to her mother in the upcoming years. Her mother greatly influenced Agnes and instilled a practice of commitment to charity and involvement in the church. Mother Teresa knew she was called into Missions when she made a journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her yearly retreat, on September 10, 1946 where she experienced a call from the Lord to fulfill His desire of serving the poor. This was also a major turning point in Mother Teresa’s ministry. Mother Teresa explained the experience as an order from Him, which she could not deny as it would mean breaking the faith and by this she knew where to go.

Mother Teresa established a new religious community, Missionaries of Charity Sisters, which was dedicated to serving the poor like the Lord had asked her. Mother Teresa overcame the obstacle of since she had taken a vow of obedience, leaving the convent without official permission was impossible. For nearly two years, she tried to initiate the new religious community, which succeeded in January of 1948 as she received a final approval from the local Archbishop Ferdinand Perier to pursue her calling. Mother Teresa endured many struggles while serving in her evangelistic journey. She gained Indian citizenship, and travelled all the way to Patna, Bihar to receive medical training at the Medical Mission Sisters. After she completed her course, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta and found her temporary lodging at Little Sisters of the Poor. Her main mission was to serve Him by helping the unwanted, unloved, and uncared. From then on, Mother Teresa reached out to the poor every day, fulfilling His desire to radiate love, kindness and compassion. Mother Teresa had started off alone but was eventually joined by voluntary helpers who were mostly former students and teachers as well as financial aid. The only greatest failure of Mother Teresa was that on her death bed, she recounted that she was disappointed because she was not able to help all the poor and homeless people who were sick and dying.

Mother Teresa’s greatest success was on October 7, 1950 where she finally received permission by the Vatican to start the congregation that would eventually become to be known as the Missionaries of Charity. A scripture verse that best represents the work of this missionary is Matthew 25:34, which reads, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. ” This passage relates to Mother Teresa in that she also gave food, shelter, water, and medicine to those who were poor. The Missionaries of Charity started with only thirteen members but went on to become one of the most significant and recognized congregations in the world. Financial aid began to come in easily, Mother Teresa expanded her scope for charitable activities tremendously. In 1952, she inaugurated the first Home for the Dying, where people brought to this home received medical help. Adhering to the different faith that people came in from, all who died were given their last ceremonies according to the religion they followed, thus dying a death of dignity.

Some interesting anecdotes about Mother Teresa is that, after living in Macedonia for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. Mother Teresa’s religious congregation still manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also includes soup kitchens, dispensaries and mobile clinics, children’s and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools. Some members of her congregation, who took vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, also profess a fourth vow which is to give, “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. ” Teresa received a number of honors, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize and she was recognized by the church as a saint on September 4, 2016, and the anniversary of her death, which is September 5, is her feast day. Mother Teresa is considered to be a controversial figure during her life and after her death and was admired by many for her charitable work. Mother Teresa’s health started declining in the 1980s when she suffered a heart attack while visiting Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983. For the next decade, Mother Teresa constantly faced health issues and cardiac problems. She also experienced no respite even after her heart surgery. Her declining health led her to step down as the head of the order on March 13, 1997 and her last visit abroad was to Rome, when she visited Pope John Paul II for the second time. She returned to Calcutta, where Mother Teresa spent her last few days receiving visitors and instructing sisters.

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 and her death was mourned by people all over the world. The world has commemorated this saintly soul through various ways. She has been memorialized and has been made patroness of various churches. There are also several roads and structures that have been named after Mother Teresa. She has also been seen in popular cultures. Mother Teresa served in the congregation, which was limited to India, and opened its first house outside India in Venezuela in 1965 with five sisters. Many more houses came up in Rome, Tanzania and Austria and by the 1970s, the order had reached several countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and United States. Calcutta India was greatly affected by Mother Teresa’s ministry work. Many changes have occurred in her religious congregation as it continues to grow and attract many young women to join in their work. Sister Nirmala Joshi, who took over from Mother Teresa, being a Hindu convert had the distinctive advantage of getting across to all sections of Indian society. She has done an admirable job of leading the Missionaries of Charity to new heights and was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honor in India, for her exemplary work. I do feel like this missionary was a success because of her work throughout 120 countries around the world. These countries were greatly affected by her work, as people suffering in poverty started to have better lives and the poverty rate decreased substantially. Mother Teresa led others to do work like hers and spread the gospel all around the world. She also guided woman like Sister Nirmala Joshi to lead her congregation which has made an immense impact to people all around the world as well.

Overall, Mother Teresa was a selfless and hard-working woman who dedicated her life to serving the poor and spreading the gospel, making a significantly better world for everyone to live in for years to come.

10 October 2020
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