Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa, albanian: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
By the 1970s she had become internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.

Mother Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulties. She had no income and had to resort to begging for food and supplies. Teresa experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months.
She wrote in her diary:

“ Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross.
Today I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them.
While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto [her former order] came to tempt me. 'You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again,' the Tempter kept on saying ... Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come."

Teresa received Vatican permission on October 7, 1950 to start the diocesan congregation that would become the Missionaries of Charity.
    "The hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, 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."

In 1952 Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in space made available
by the City of Calcutta.
With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into
the Kalighat Home for the Dying, a free hospice for the poor.
She renamed it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday).

"A beautiful death," she said, "is for people who lived like animals to die like angels — loved and wanted."
Mother Teresa soon opened a home for those suffering from Hansen's disease,
commonly known as leprosy, and called the hospice Shanti Nagar (City of Peace).
On March 13, 1997, she stepped down from the head of Missionaries of Charity and died on September 5, 1997.
Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her
death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes
for people with AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.
Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Missionaries care for those who include refugees, ex-prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, AIDS victims, the aged, and convalescent.
They have schools run by volunteers to educate street children, they run soup kitchens,
as well as many other services as per the communities' needs.
They have 19 homes in Kolkata (Calcutta) alone which include homes for women, for orphaned children, and for the dying; an AIDS hospital, a school for street children, and a leper colony.
These services are provided to people regardless of their religion or social caste.

I must say that Mother Teresa was a blessing for the world, she lived her life as a Saint and helped people that were dying.
She was born to help the poor and lived every day with the love of Jessus in her heart,
even if she faced so many difficulties, loneliness, pain and suffering, she carried out her mission.
Mother Teresa is an example of faith, strengthbeliefkindness and most important, LOVE for all of us.
I respect her work and I wish
someday I could help at least half of the number of people she helped during her life.

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones-the ones at home.”

“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

"Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness.”

                          Death is being born to an eternal life!


Vincent Di Stefano said...

Thank you for a deep, informed and comprehensive reflection on the life and influence of this beautiful woman.

Vincent Di Stefano said...

Thank you for this deep, informed and comprehensive reflection on the life and influence of the beautiful Mother Teresa.