Mother Teresa or Agnes was born on 26 August 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family. But she considered August 27 to be her “true birthday” as she was baptised on that day.
The family lived in Skopje the present capital of the Republic of Macedonia. At that time it was part of the Ottaman Empire. She was the youngest member in her family. Her parents were Nikolle and Dranafile Bojaxhiu. She lost her father at the age of eight.
Childhood and Early Life
She was fascinated by the stories of the lives of missionaries and committed to live a religious life at the age of 12. However; she took final resolution on 15 August 1928. Agnes left her family (1928) when she was only 18 years old and joined the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
She arrived in India in the year 1929 and began her novitiate in Darjeeling where she learnt Bengali and taught at St. Teresa’s School. She took her religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931. She was also known as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. Her authorised biography was written by Indian civil servant Navin Chawla and published in 1992. In 1979 Teresa received Nobel Peace prize.
Mother’s Missionary Works
Mother Teresa began her missionary work in 1948. She became Indian citizen and spent few months in Patna where she received basic medical training in the Holy Family Hospital. Then she started working for the poor. Later in the year 1949 a group of young women joined her leading to the formation of a new religious group working for the benefit of the poor section in the society.
Missionaries of Charity
She received Vatican permission in 1950 to begin the diocesan congregation which turned into Missionaries of Charity. The aim of the organisation was to care those who were found to be neglected and unwanted in the society. In 1952 she opened the first Home for the Dying in Kolkata. She received support from the Indian officials to convert an abandoned Hindu temple into Kalighat Home for the Dying. Teresa renamed it as Nirmal Hriday or Home of the Pure Heart. She also opened homes for other purposes. Some of them are Shanti Nagar or City of Peace, Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, Missionaries of Charity Brothers and Missionaries of Charity Sisters. At present Missionaries of Charity have its branches all over the world.