A lady who decided to give her all in a world full of, greed, jealousy and gluttony. It would be rare to find someone who does not know the name of Mother Teresa! Born and raised in Albania, Mary Agnes Teresa left her family behind at the young age of 18. Preparing herself for a lifetime of missionary service as a nun. During a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for an annual retreat, she received the “call within the call”. To go out and “give wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.” To give her all in a world of greed, jealousy and gluttony.
She stepped outside the comfort of her convent walls at Calcutta and took her first steps towards the slums. As she visited families, cleaned the sores of children, cared for a sick old man, and treated a woman dying of TB. Like a mother, her heart began to reach out to them. Her visions confirmed God’s call to love the most unwanted and unloved people in society, just as Jesus loved them. She took it upon herself to meet these people’s physical, mental and spiritual needs.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that started out with 12 nuns and today has 5,167 nuns and is active in 139 countries as of 2020. The congregation runs homes for people who are dying in a world full of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis. It also undertakes various other social welfare projects. Often, she had to convince her religious mentors to work outside the convent and to get basic medical training, request people for support and even face criticism. Yet, when she met the needy person’s gaze, she forgot all of these challenges and served with a smile.
However, she chose to live in a world full of sadness. As she famously said once, what motivated her to do this was that she saw the face of Jesus in each of these persons. Hence, everyone saw a mother in her, which is why she came to be popularly known as ‘Mother Teresa’.
Call to action
Mother Teresa poured out her life in selfless love and sacrificial service. To some of the neediest and most neglected people in a world of people endlessly chasing after selfish pursuits. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century. All the while, she remained faithful to her calling to love others. Dear friends, we may or may not be able to do as much as Mother Teresa did. However, we can start with what we have because we live in a world full of misery, with a need all around us.
“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right where you are.”– Mother Teresa