Who is Mother Teresa? What are they Missions !
Small, bent, blue eyed a character of wrinkles, dynamic, strong and determined, mother Teresa was the very incarnation of mercy and compassion. She was a moving image of good and godliness, ever full of hope, cheer, sunshine, gentle, smile, prayers and benediction.
This apostle of love, hope and mercy had been the mother in the truest sense of the term of millions and millions of destitute, deprived, ill and dying in India and abroad. A single frail and bent down woman, her body draped in a coarse white sari with a broad blue border reaching out to millions of homeless, poor, needy, destitute and diseased instantly reminded of Buddha and Christ.
Her mission and ministry of mercy and compassion were limitless and ever expanding. Consequently, she became the most loved and respected woman of the world. She became internationally known of her charitable work of the victims of diseases, illness, poverty, exploitation, neglect and adversity.
Mother Teresa was named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu at her birth by her parents. She was born on 26th August, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. Her Albanian parents were Catholics. Her father Kole was a small businessman and her mother Drana a housewife. Agnes was the youngest of her parent’s three children.
When she was only 9 years old her father suddenly died and her mother had to look after the family single handedly. She had to do add jobs to support her three children and herself. She was Gold-fearing and a religious lady and always found time for prayers, counting the rosary and visiting the church. This had a lasting impact on Agnes and decided the future course her life.
She Was God of Poor Communities
She went to Ireland in 1928 and joined the Blessed Virgni Mary Institute. And then, hardly six weeks later, she left for India to become a teacher. She studied nursing and went to the slums of Kolkata, the home of the most neglected and deprived men, and women and children of the world.
One day, soon after her coming as a young Yugoslav Loreto nun from Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham in Dublin, she was travelling to Darjeeling in a train. Then suddenly she had a vision and heard God’s call to leave the Loreto Order and work among the poorest of India’s poor. God had told her his wish and directed what she should do.
She wanted that she should serve him and seek him among the destitute. Therefore, she founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, an institution of women dedicated to the service of the lepers, diseased and destitute in 1950.
Mission of Charity Permanent Life Goal
Open schools and centers to treat and give shelter to the leapers, aged, disabled, diseased and the dying. She also founded a leaper colony called Shanti Nagar (Town of Peace) near Asansol, Sister Francis Xavier was made the incharge of the colony and she had really done a miracle by transforming a piece and barren land bloom into a vibrant living place in just five years. Here the leapers had a place of their own, a place in where they could live and could in peace and dignity, where they could work gainfully and lead a meaningful normal life.
Her journey to Darjeeling proved a turning point in her life. It was really the most significant journey of her life. The day was September 10. 1946 and later it came to be recognized as “Inspiration Day”. She was 28 years of age she took the strict vows of poverty, purity, obedience and selfless service. She was given permission by the pope to leave the convent and begin her lifelong ministry.
The year was 1948. Two years later, her order of the missionaries of Charity was approved by the archdiocese of Kolkata and subsequently recognized as a Pontifical Congregation under the direct jurisdiction of Pope at Rome.
Pure Heart and Became Citizen of India
Mother saw the manifestation of God in every human being and felt she was serving the Lord when she served a leaper, a destitute or a she was or a dying person. In them she saw Christ himself. She did not hesitate to serve even a faithless because of her own firm faith in humanity, God and his creation. She never tried to thrust her faith and belief on others.
Mother led very frugal and austre life. She had renounced all possessions. The Sisters also own nothing expect three coarse sarees, one mattress, one mug and one plate. She became the Indian citizen in 1962. She opened charitable dispensaries, hospitals, TB clinics, and homes for unwanted children, schools and a home for dying and destitute called Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart).
This most revered daughter and mother of India spent her long life in helping the wretched on the gutters. She waged a relentless and long war against suffering, appalling poverty and disease and compassion was her only weapon. She lived and died for charity, service and the welfare of the weakest of the weak.
Accomplishments of Teresa
As appreciation to her matchless and long service she was showered honours upon honours including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the most prestigious civilian award of India- Bharat Ratna in 1980. Universities felt proud in conferring on her honorary decorate degrees. She was given the honour of honorary citizenship of several big and famous cities.
In 1971 Pope Paul awarded her first Pope John XXII Peace Prize. She also received Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. She was a perfect embodiment she had grown into a legend. Mother Teresa died on 5th September, 1997 and thus created a huge void.
It was tragic and irreparable loss to Kolkata and India in particular and the entire humanity in general. In her death an important chapter of human history came to an end, an en era closed. However, Indians felt proud that she chose India as her country of her work, mission and service, India the land of Buddha, Mahavira and Mahatma Gandhi.
Always in Heart
The passing away of this saint of the gutters at the age of 87 years plunged of people into sorrow and mourning and orphaned thousands of people. Physically she is no more with us, but her spirit of love, service, charity and compassion is always there to guide and help us all. In the recognition of her selfless services the Pope granted her Sainthood. Really, she became a role model of charity, compassion, holiness and selfless service.