Feast Day: 5 September
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a remarkable woman who strongly believed in serving and seeing God in the least of society.
After a childhood of poverty caused by the death of her father, she joined a religious order known as the Sisters of Loreto. It was in this role that she first came to India and became a teacher at St. Mary’s School for girls.
For twenty years she worked there and eventually became the school’s principal. Her time here was said to be full of joy and Mother Teresa was known for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organisation. This was then compounded, supported and emphasised by her deep love and communion with Christ.
Through prayer, discernment and vision, Mother Teresa felt God was calling her to a ‘mission within a mission’ and eventually establish a religious order dedicated to care of the poor.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta went first to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She started each day with communion then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve God amongst “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”
After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students and her order soon became world renowned for her dedication and love for the poor.
She began to receive numerous awards and media coverage for her works; this began with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and later she notably won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Everything she received, be it media coverage or awards thanking her for her work, she always accepted purely ‘for the glory of God and in the name of the poor’.
She inspired the world and became a truly modern day hero and, even after her death, her religious order continues to grow and people are cared for and come to faith through the order she founded.