Remembering the work of Mother Theresa

The life of Mother Teresa had been lived fully in aid of the poor, the sick and of orphans. After 20 years of serving God as a nun at the Loreto order of nuns, she found her true calling, which was to help those in need in the poorest parts of India.

Born on 26 August 1910, Mother Teresa’s birth name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu and was the last born out of three children. Following her father’s death when she was just 8 years old, Mother Teresa’s mother worked tirelessly selling textiles and hand-made embroidery for an income.

During Mother Teresa’s early teenage years, she was an active church member as she sang in the choir and helped organize church events, and would often supply the poor in her community with food and essential supplies.

At the young age of 12, Mother Teresa had thoughts about becoming a nun. However, this was not a decision to be taken lightly as it meant that she’d have to give up marriage and having kids when she grows up, and it also meant that she would never see her family again.

At the age of 17, she felt that becoming a nun was her calling and applied to the Loreto order of nuns.

When she turned 18, she travelled to Ireland to embark her journey to becoming a nun. She spent several weeks here learning the history or Loreto before traveling to the convent in India, “Loreto Entally”.

At the age of 21, Mother Teresa took her vows to become a Loreto nun. She soon began to teach History and Geography at the convent schools, and later, was granted the permission to leave the convent to teach at an outside school, St. Teresa’s, for two years.

After this venture, she took her vows to become “Mother Teresa” and became the principal of one of the convent schools.

After 11 years as the principal of St. Mary’s, and 20 years serving as a Loreto nun, Mother Teresa left the convent to go after her second calling, which was to help the poor in the slums of India. Following her departure, she acquired some medical knowledge before starting her new mission in Calcutta to help the poor.

She began her journey in Calcutta with teaching children and visiting many families in the community offering medical assistance. It was not long after until she started receiving donations and formed her team of helpers, whom were all nuns from Loreto.

In 1950, Mother Teresa officially founded “Missionaries of Charity”, a charity dedicated to helping the poor.

The work of missionaries of charities

Soon after its establishment in 1950, Missionaries of Charities performed marvellous work in India:

In 1952, they established “Nirmal Hriday” (“Place of the Immaculate Heart”) which was a home built for those who were dying, as the hospitals in India at the time were filled with those patients who had a chance of survival. Families of the dying would bring their loved ones to the home where nuns would bathe, feed and lay them down in a cot where they could die peacefully.

In 1955, they established an orphanage named “Shishu Bhaven”.

Children here were housed, fed, given medical attention and an education, and some were adopted.

In 1957, they created a Leprosy Fund and established mobile leper clinics to provide medical help to those infected with the disease. She later opened up a home for lepers called “Shanti Nager” (“The Place of Peace”), as many were abandoned and neglected by their families.

Following their 10th anniversary, Missionaries of Charity established a number of houses outside of Calcutta and not long after, outside of India and soon around the world. They also established many homes in various countries for those suffering from AIDS called “Gift of Love”.

Just 10 days after her 87th birthday, on the 5th of September 1997, Mother Teresa passed away from heart failure and was laid to rest at the motherhouse of Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.

Mother Teresa stood strong in her belief that the work of Missionaries of Charity was not her own, but that of God’s.

“It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts”

– Mother Teresa.