An angel of love, an apostle of peace and a mother of all the tortured and deprived people, the mother was the last apostle of peace and selfless service who walked on the earth for the sake of its citizens.
She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, to Albanian parents in Skopje (erstwhile Yugoslavia) on 26 August 1910. She went to Ireland when she was 18.
She took veil there and then entered the Congregation of Loreto. Six weeks later, she sailed to India for teaching in the schools of the Congregation. She also taught Geography at St. Mary’s High School in Kolkata.
For some years, she was its Principal as well. She took her first vows in Darjeeling on 24 May 1931 and her final vows on 24 May 1937 in the Loreto School.
Her “inspiration day” was 10 September 1946 when, aboard a train to Darjeeling, she heard the “call of God” to bring peace, love and solace to the people whom the world shunned. She applied to the Pope for decloisteration, which was granted to her in 1948.
Thus, began the saga of compassion, love and service. The mother started from a small room in Kolkata and started attending to the poor, sick and destitute lying in the slums and streets of the metropolis.
She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. With a few nuns, she opened her first home, “Nirmal Hriday” in 1955.
She faced problems of religion and colour, but these and many other hardships she faced, could not dissuade her from carrying out the noble task.
At last, people understood that she was a true angel of peace and compassion and the whole world gave her a helping hand. “God helps”, were not only her favorite words, but also her firm faith, which gave her strength and inspiration to carry on her noble path.
Over a period of years, Mother Teresa built up the Order and opened more than 160 centers in India. These included schools, charitable dispensaries, homes for leprosy patients, a TB clinic and homes for the dying and the destitute.
She maintained that the biggest evil was not the disease but the lack of love, compassion and above all, a feeling of being unwanted.
Holy mother and her team picked up the destitute from the streets, cleaned them, provided them with medical treatment and care and helped them re-build their lives.
Mother Teresa was awarded Magsaysay Award in 1962, Joseph Kennedy Jr. Award (for services to the mentally retarded) in 1971, and Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1979, Noble Peace Prize in 1979 and Bharat Ratna in 1980.
She received many other awards during and was respected throughout the globe. She used all the money she got in the awards for the service of the poor.
Mother was untouched by fame and glory and was selfless worker. She was the embodiment of compassion whose karmabhumi was the City of Joy which is better known as Kolkata.
After struggling for life in a hospital, the holy mother breathed her last 5 September 1997. According to her, death was like going home and mortals should not be afraid of it.
She also believed that fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service and the fruit of service is peace. In her death, the world lost a noble soul, untiring in her service to the suffering and the downtrodden.
Mother Teresa was the great daughter of the Almighty who has contributed a lot to the cause of the human society.
The future generations would always look for an angel of peace as they would find this world materialistic, unforgiving and harsh. And only an angel from the heavens can repeat whatever mother has done for mankind during her life.
The life and selfless devotion of Mother Teresa has taught us the divine lesson of love for humanity and care for the needy, suffering and the destitute. The poor, sick, mentally handicapped and physically disabled people deserve our attention, care, compassion and financial assistance. Mother
Teresa did a lot for the downtrodden. All of us should take an oath that we will make some contribution, howsoever small and keep her mission alive.
There are many social service organizations, public sector organizations, NGOs and institutions funded by the corporate sector and the UN that are serving the humanity through financial, social and medical services.
We should also try to help them in serving the cause of poor children, lepers, mentally handicapped children and adults, spastics and other needy children and other such people. The selfless service to humanity is a divine experience.
Whatever Mother Teresa did during her lifetime, was indeed highly commendable. She would be remembered along with the great souls of the world which include Holy Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira.
All these great souls symbolized peace, compassion for humanity and righteousness. Mother Teresa was last of the apostles witnessed by the mortal world.
Mankind perhaps would not see another great soul of her stature in many centuries to come. May her soul in peace!
After Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, began the process of beatification, the third step towards possible canonization. This process requires the documentation of a miracle performed from the intercession of Mother Teresa.
In 2002, the Vatican recognized as a miracle the healing of a tumour in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa’s picture.
But there was a controversy as some people including the medical staff which treated Monica, claimed that she was cured by them and that it was not a miracle, while Monica said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous tumour.
Monica’s medical records contain sonograms, prescriptions, and physicians’ notes that could prove whether the cure was a miracle or not. She claimed that Sister Betta of the Missionaries of Charity was holding them.
The publication has received a “no comments” statement from Sister Betta. The officials at the Balurghat Hospital where Monica was seeking medical treatment have claimed that they are being pressured by the Catholic order to declare the cure a miracle.
Christopher Hichens was the only witness called by the Vatican to give evidence against Mother Teresa’s beatification and canonization process, as the Vatican had abolished the traditional “devil’s advocate” role, which fulfilled a similar purpose.
In the process of examining Teresa’s suitability for beatification and canonization, the Vatican poured over a great deal of documentation of published and unpublished criticism of her life and work.
Vatican officials say Hitchens’s allegations have been investigated by the agency charged with such matters, the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, and they found no obstacle to Mother Teresa’s’ beatification.
The beatification of Mother Teresa took place on 19 October 2003, thereby bestowing on her the title “blessed”. A second miracle is required for her to proceed to canonization.
Teresa inspired a variety of commemorations. She has been memorialized through museums, been named patroness of various churches, and had various structures and roads named after her, including Albania’s international airport.
In 2009, the Mother Teresa Memorial House was opened in her hometown Skopje, in the Republic of Macedonia.