Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa the saint gutter, had conquered the hearts of people by her selfless service and dedication. Quite early in her life, she had vowed to service the humanity and it is a matter of joy that she could fulfill her vow. till the last moment of her life she was fully devoted to selfless service.
Mother Teresa, an Angel of Mercy was born on 26th August. 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu into a middle class Albanian family in Skopje, Yugoslavia. From her very childhood, she had great human qualities like kindness, charity, love and service for the weak and suffering. Her father, a businessman and member of the community council, died when she was only nine years old. Her mother, Drana, raised Agnes and her siblings, Aga and Lazer alone and was much conscientious about the religious education of her children.
The family attended the Church daily and prayed every evening. The children were taught to treat the poor and needy, who came to knock at their door, with respect and to practice charitable works. On holidays, the family visited the Holy Virgin at Letnice.
“I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. It was an order. I was to leave convent and help the poor while living among them”. She was just 18 when she got the order and vowed to the Church to begin work at several religious retreats in Letnice. in 1928 she joined the Sisters of Our lady of Loreto to work in India and moved to an abbey close to Dublin, the Loreto sister’s headquarter. She learned English there and began her formal religious training. She renamed herself as Teresa after the name of Sister Teresa de Lisieux, a 19th centre French nun and advocated of ‘the little way’
Mother Teresa arrived in Calcutta in 1929 and continued on to Darjeeling, where she was further trained in religious life On 23rd May that year she was accepted as a novice and two years later made her first vow. She spent her next 17 year teaching at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, an elite school for the privileged, eventually serving as its Principal. She felt ill in 1946 and while going to Darjeeling in the train she got the call, “It was in the train I heard the call to give up all and follow Him to the slums to serve Him among the poorest and poor”.
In 1948, she got the permission from Pope Pius XII to leaver her order and she stared teaching children in the Calcutta slums. Then she found a women in 1952, who was half-eaten up by maggots and rats. She sat beside her in the street in front of a hospital until she died. Thus, Mother Teresa appealed to the authorizes for a building, where the poor could die with dignity. Here she started a charitable association, Mission of Charity which has devoted itself to bringing people dying on the streets to the home. Mother soon extended her work helping lepers in Calcutta. Now the Mission of Charity has spread to various countries and it has five thousand five hundred volunteers working selflessly for those who need their help.
In the later years Mother Teresa was present there wherever people needed her help, it might be the hungry people of Ethiopia, radiation victims of Chernobyl or poor in the squalid township of South Africa. In 1982, at the height of the siege of Beirut, she persuaded the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas to stop shooting long enough for her to rescue 37 children trapped in a front line hospital. She established a global network of homes from Calcutta to New York for the poor including one of the first homes for AIDS victims.
Mother Teresa raided her powerful voice against the conservative values, arguing passionately against abortion, contraception and divorce. her fame was so that she traveled as Pope John Paul II’s envoy to preach devotion to life. her great works for humanity had won her many a good numbers of award. in 1962, she got Padmashree from the Government of India. In 1971, she was selected for the Pope John XXIII Peace price. In 1979, as a recognition of her work worldwide, she got the Nobel Peace Prize. Accepting the Nobel Prize she said, “I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive it in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of 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. Government of India bestowed Bhrat Ratna on her in 1980.
Mother Teresa had received criticism despite her good works. Feminist Germaine Greer had attacked her on her unwavering anti-abortion stance. When Mother Teresa accepted Haiti’s Legion d’ Honor from Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier and alter laid flowers on the grave of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, many faulted her for pandering to tyrants who caused innocent people to suffer.
She wrote in 1992 to the U.S. Judge who was presiding over of trail of Chales Keating, who was accused for donating $1.25 million to her order Mission of Charity, asking for his mercy, telling him the accused has always been kind and generous to God’s poor. She requested Judge, “No matter who said what, accept it with a smile and do your own work.
Mother suffered her first heart attack in 1983 while meeting Pope John Paul II in Rome and second in 1989, after which she had to receive a pacemaker. her health become worse in September 1996 and she was admitted to Woodlands Nursing Home in Calcutta for Malaria as well as heart and lung complications. Eventually she died on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87 having lived a life that inspired people all over the world.
In October, 2003, the Mother who was popularly know as the Saint of the Gutter has been declared beatified by Pope John Paul II before hundred of thousand of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and a number of people in the crowd, including some Indian residents of Rome had greatly admired the nun.
Service to humanity was the only motto and mission of the Mother and her contribution for the world peace, happiness and harmony in matchless.