“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” -Mother Teresa
St. Teresa of Calcutta also known as Mother Teresa, was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity religious order. She was born August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia of Albanian heritage with the name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (GOHN-zha BoyAH-chu). She worked her whole life to serve those most in need and died September 5, 1997 in Calcutta, India.
At the age of eighteen, Agnes became a missionary and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland. She then received the name Sr. Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. Her first experience took her to Calcutta, India where she taught at a girls school. When she took her final vows and became principal of the school, she became known as Mother Teresa.
After twenty years of teaching, Mother Teresa was on a train when she received a second calling or “call within a call.” Over the course of the next months, Jesus revealed to her His desire for her. “Come be My light,” He begged her. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and entered the world of the poor.
Every day she would begin with Eucharist and then go out into the slums holding her rosary, looking for “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” Eventually her former students joined her and the order grew. They started opening new homes in other parts of India, and then other countries as well. Now there are homes on every continent in the world! She also opened up the community to accept Brothers, contemplatives, Fathers and lay Co-Workers, as well as the “Sick and Suffering Co-Workers” who are people of many faiths.
Mother Teresa started to gain major public attention in 1979 when she won the Nobel Peace Prize. She was known in the 80’s and 90’s for her work as well as her public speaking as she made the rounds pleading with governments and religious leaders to do more to care for the poorest of the poor. By 1997 Mother Teresa was suffering from failing health and a weakened physical state. She helped install the newly elected Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity and soon after passed away.
Only after Mother Teresa had been dead for many years did the world discover that despite her amazing service and work with the poor, sick and dying of the streets, she had suffered terrible spiritual dryness and loneliness. She called this experience “the darkness” and believed that though she felt far from God at times, this helped her be more in solidarity with those she served.
Mother Teresa was Beatified in 2003, and amazingly, she was Canonized only 13 years later by Pope Francis September 4, 2016 (a day before her feast). He said: “Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor. Today, I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness!”
Use these activities to honor St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa:
– Coloring Pages thanks to “Look To Him and Be Radiant”
– Word Search thanks to “The Word Search”
– More Word Searches for different ages thanks to “Life, Love & Sacred Art”
– Mother Teresa Activity with quote —>