Teresa was born in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. At the age of 12 she became fascinated by missionaries. When she reached 18 she entered the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland, where she learned English. She then moved to Darjeeling, in India, to do her novitiate. She took the name Teresa (after St Therese of Lisieux) when she took her first vows. Upon taking solemn vows in 1937 she became ‘Mother’ Teresa. She was a teacher, and eventually headmistress of the Loreto convent school in Entally, eastern Calcutta for nearly 20 years.
In 1946 she felt a call from God to work with ‘the poorest among the poor’. She left her convent in 1948 and in 1950 received permission to set up the diocesan congregation the Missionaries of Charity to care for ‘the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, and all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone’.
The Missionaries of Charity grew, so that by the 1960s they had opened hospices, orphanages and leper houses throughout India. The Missionaries of Charity Brothers was founded in 1963.
By 2007, the Missionaries of Charity numbered about 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries.
Mother was known as a strict disciplinarian with her sisters; insisting they lived in poverty wherever they were.
She died in 1997, aged 87 and was canonised by Pope Francis in 2016.
Name: Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu
1910: Born in what is now Skopje, North Macedonia.
1950: Established the Missionaries of Charity.
1997: Died in Calcutta, India
2016: Canonised by Pope Francis
Feast: 5th September
Quote from Saint
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”Mother Teresa
Isaiah 61:1-3 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
61 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
Thought for the Day
Do I ever feel the call to reach out to those who are suffering in any way?
Missionaries of Charity song by the girls of Puranpur