Mother Teresa's Lifetime of Dedication to the Poor
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, more commonly known as Mother Teresa, was born on August 27, 1910 in a small town called Skopje, which is in current day Yugoslavia. Tragically when Agnes was 9 her father died. Despite the extra responsibility this put on her mother, she still found time to school Agnes and her other 2 children, as well as help members of her community with alcoholism. Thusly, starting at a very young age Agnes was taught to help those in need. (http://www.tisv.be/mt/life.htm) At the young age of 12, Agnes decided to follow in her mother's footsteps and help the poor. When she was eighteen Agnes made the decision to join the Sisters of Loreto and left for their mission in Calcutta. Upon joining the sisterhood Agnes chose the name "Sister Teresa", after Saint Teresa of Lisbeaux, the patroness of missionaries. It was there in Calcutta that Sister Teresa devoted her life to God and later took on the title of "Mother Teresa". Her devotion changed countless lives of the people in India, as well as around the world. (Spink, 83)
Mother Teresa then began teaching at Saint Mary's High School in Calcutta. In 1946 after seventeen years of teaching Mother Teresa's life was drastically changed when she became gravely ill with tuberculosis. Her illness caused her to go to the town of Darjeeling to convalesce. While there, she experienced the call of God. God told Mother Teresa to give up all that she had and follow God into the slums and serve among the poorest of people. (Vardey, 15) Two years later, she received the permission of her superiors to leave the school and devote her time to working with the poor as God had instructed her. Despite very limited funds she was able to found an open-air school for homeless children. Soon thereafter volunteers in the community began to help support the school financially. This support was reassuring and it encouraged Mother Teresa to continue her work further in the community. (Vardey, 18)
In 1950 Mother Teresa said, "I realized that I had the call to take care of the sick, and the dying, the hungry, the naked, the homeless- to be God's love in action to the poorest of the poor" and she decided to found her own order named The Missionaries of Charity. (http://www.members.tripod.com) Members of the Missionaries of Charity made the three basic vows: poverty, chastity, and obedience as well as an additional fourth, one of service to the poor. It is clear that Mother Teresa has a particular passion for helping the poor; this is because she believed that the poor are the embodiment of Christ.
The Missionaries of Charity began with only twelve members. Over time however, Mother Teresa's order has grown to a membership of over four thousand today. One of the first accomplishments of the order was to establish a home for the needy people of Calcutta. In an interview Mother Teresa describes how she came about forming another...