Top 10 Facts about Mother Teresa


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Mother Teresa is known for her missionary work in helping the poor. She was an empathetic devout catholic nun whose mission was to lessen the mystery that sick and poor went through.

She is considered to be the greatest humanitarian to have ever lived in the 20th century. Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in present-day Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.

Her parents, Nikollë and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, named her, Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. Her family were staunch Catholics who were actively involved in their local church.

The parents were also vocal politically and supported the Independence of Albania. Nikolle Bojaxhiu was an entrepreneur that dealt with construction wares and medicine.

Here are 10 facts about Mother Teresa

1. Mother Teresa performed miracles as a Saint

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

In 1998, a woman known as Monica Besra went to missionaries of charity in Bengal India for prayers. She had a cancerous tumor in her stomach.

On September 5 of the same year while praying at the Charity’s chapel, she saw a light coming from a photo of Mother Teresa.

The also nuns prayed with her placing a medallion that once touched Mother Teresa’s body on her stomach asking her to intervene.

Besra woke up the following morning with the tumor gone. Medical experts could not explain this miraculous cure.

She was declared cancer free. This was the second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa.

On December 18, 2015, Pope Francis acknowledged this miracle and it paved the way to her canonization.

On September 4, 2016,  Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint a day before the 19th anniversary of her death.

The canonization mass was led by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

2. Mother Teresa’s philanthropy was nurtured by her mother 

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Growing up in Skopje, Mother Teresa became interested in community work.

She admired her mother’s kindness towards the poor in the community. She would always open her doors to the poor and share a meal with them.

Mrs Bojaxhui is said to have told Mother Teresa never to eat alone, to always share the little she had with other people.

After her father’s demise, Mother Teresa grew closer to her mother, a staunch believer in charity work.

This act of service bonded the two women nurturing selfless in Mother Teresa.

3. Mother Teresa sang in the Choir

In her early life, Mother Teresa attended a primary school run by nuns. She later went to a government run high school.

As a devoted Catholic, she attended the local church where she joined the sacred heart choir.

She was so good that she would often be asked to sing solo verses.

It was also during this time that she had an epiphany on her journey as a missionary while on an annual pilgrimage to the Church of the Black Madonna in Letnice, she was 12 years old.

4. From Agnes to Mary Teresa 

In 1928, at 18 years old, then known as Agnes, Mother Teresa embarked on a journey to become a nun.

She joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin, Ireland. It was here that she took up the name Teresa in honor of  Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

4. Mother Teresa, the train and the Vision

Lisbon trains – by Threeohsix – Wikimedia Commons

In 1946, Mother Teresa, then based in Calcutta, went for a retreat in the Himalayas.

While on the train, she said she heard Christ asking her to take on a new role; go to the slums of Calcutta and help the poor and the sick. She was then a teacher.

It was not an easy decision. She was bound by the oath of obedience and could not leave the convent without official permission.

After two years of lobbying, her request was granted, and she stepped out of the convent adorning the famous blue and white sari.

She took a six-month medical training to equip herself with basic skills. After a successful training,  she headed to Calcutta’s slums with a single mission to show love to the poor and the sick.

6. Mother Teresa founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

The year 1950 saw the birth of the Missionaries of Charity. This group was formed by Mother Teresa under the Catholic Church in a quest to spread the call for help and care of the less fortunate in the community.

15 years later, her good work reached Pope Paul VI. He granted her group the Decree of Praise. This enabled the expansion of the mission globally.

She started off with 13 members. Today, the mission has grown to over 4000 members, 610 foundation and thousands of volunteers worldwide.

7. Mother Teresa had brutal critics

Not everyone believed in Mother Teresa’s cause. There were those that believed she was hiding behind helping the poor and the sick.

One such critic was Christopher Hitchens an English-America journalist and writer.

He questioned Mother Teresa’s efforts in advocating for the sick and poor as a means of enriching the mighty and powerful in the society.

He claimed that Mother Teresa was wrong in accepting alms and other forms of support from wealthy people who had questionable characters.

Hitchens referred to Mother Teresa as a religious propagandist who found comfort in the pain of others.

This was in reference to Mother Teresa’s Homes for the Dying, he said that the home did not seek to provide medical relief instead it was a cult of death and suffering.

By the time he Died, Hitchens had published over 30 books, among them The missionary Position: Mother Teresa in theory and Practice.

8. Mother Teresa’s Take on Abortion and Contraceptives was Harsh

Mother Teresa, a staunch catholic and humanitarian, was also a big supporter of some controversial  doctrines by the church.

She opposed the use of contraceptives. Endorsed a “no” vote for the Irish referendum on divorce and remarrying.

She considered abortion to be the cause of lack of peace in the world.

9. She was awarded with  the Nobel Peace Prize 

Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee acknowledged her work as being one that respected human beings and valuing the innate values of such individuals.

They commended her for lending a hand to the loneliest, the sick and the poor by showing compassion.

10. She suffered a crisis of faith

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Mother Teresa, just like many people, had moments when she doubted.

In September 1979 she wrote a letter to her spiritual confidant, Reverend Michael van der Peet stating that she felt empty and could not see or hear (from God).

The letter read in part “As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear”.

She asked the Reverend to remember her in prayer.

In some of her letter addressed to him, she explained her struggles in trying to keep up with God’s teachings and work, that she felt empty, filled with darkness and that heaven meant nothing.

At one point she doubted the existence of God and his son Jesus.

Mother Teresa lived to be 87, and she never saw her mother or sister again after the day she left for Ireland.

In April 1996 she fell, and broke her collarbone. She also had a series of other ailments that took a toll on her health.

Mother Teresa passed away on September 5, 1997, due to heart failure. She was buried on 13 September 1997 at The Mother House Of the Missionaries Of Charity, Kolkata, India.