Mother Teresa Facts
An Amazing Woman: Mother Teresa Facts
The birth of the tiny baby girl in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia must have brought great vision and happiness to her parents, who could not have imagined their child would one day become Mother Teresa. Facts about the humble beginnings to the development of an iconic figure are almost as fascinating as the woman herself.
In the beginning…
It was during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire that a grocer, Nikola and his wife Dronda had their last child, whom they named Agnes. All three children were raised with solid church values, with religion and prayer a priority in the family life. The role model Dronda supplied to her children was one of generosity to others while living humbly themselves. Agnes, as the youngest child, often accompanied her mother as she tended to alcoholics, elderly individuals and orphaned children.
This life must have had great impact on the young girl, who realized her life was destined to be devoted to God by the tender age of twelve. She made the final decision at age 18 to become a nun; a choice supported by her parents. Agnes traveled to Dublin, Ireland with a group of other young women with similar goals to join the house of the Loreto Sisters, a convent. After only a few months at the convent, Agnes changed her name to Sister Mary Teresa of the Child Jesus and began her life’s journey with God by traveling to India.
In Darjeeling, Sister Mary Teresa continued in her quest to be a novice of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary or, as it is more commonly known, the Loreto Sisters. Within a few months, she discarded social garb to don the holy habit of Loreto and began to learn the Hindi and Bengali languages which she used as she taught school. Before she was 30 years old, she took her final vows in chastity, obedience and poverty; beginning her remarkable life as Mother Teresa.
As a servant of the Lord, Mother Teresa continued ministering to children as a teacher. It was shortly after her 36th birthday that she felt the call of God fall upon her, directing her to leave the convent and live amongst the poverty stricken people in order to help them. The policy of the Roman Catholic Church was that nuns must receive permission from the Archbishop, the Mother Superior and the Pope to leave the convent yet remain a member of the Church; permission that was granted two years later.
After gleaning basic medical training at the Holy Family Hospital in Patna, she took her new knowledge to the streets where it was desperately needed. She began the Missionaries of Charity; an order in which nuns would function and live precisely as the most poverty stricken people lived. Their purpose in life would be to improve the lives of the poor by teaching them proper hygiene, basic health care as well as rudimentary education in reading and writing.
The zeal and purpose of this cause brought many women to Mother Teresa; facts that her ideals were firmly rooted in her strong belief in God were evident in her undeterred strength and faith as she and her followers lived most frugally. Despite the dire conditions, more and more women joined her order; spreading her work across the globe. Her focus on the poor and suffering brought the emergence of almost 600 missions worldwide with over 4000 nuns and brothers to help the ill, homeless, orphans and more. Mother Teresa herself worked tirelessly toward her mission of bringing relief to these; ceasing only when her health prevented further dedication at the age of 86. She died a year later, and continues to be greatly mourned as a selfless and generous spirit of God.
Her own complete dedication was possibly the greatest gift given by Mother Teresa; facts bear out that she never relented in her pursuit to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor. In so doing, she became the richest woman on earth, at least in heart.