“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.” – Mother Teresa
Amidst several acts of violence and selfishness, we humans ignore the kindness and selflessness that exist around us. They are not defined by great deeds and actions but can be found in simple gestures of love, be it a hug or a smile. Sharing your meal with someone who hasn’t eaten for days or helping a person in dire need of aid can give your everlasting happiness and peace that is hard to find from other materialistic things. One such example of goodness and selflessness is Mother Teresa who is recognized as saintly by most of us.
Born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu the following day. She was the last of the three kids to Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, who were of Albanian descent. Her father used to work as a construction contractor along with trading medicines and other goods. They were a devoted Catholic family with Nikola involved deeply in local church and politics. In 1919, Agnes faced a major setback with the sudden death of her father which left the close-knitted family upset and disheartened. Later, Agnes became quite close to her mother who instilled charity and compassion in her.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
After attending a convent-run primary school, she was shifted to a state-run secondary school in Skopje. She became a part of a local Sacred Heart choir group and developed an interest in school society that was focused on foreign missions—a group that travelled to other countries to spread religious beliefs. At the age of 12 when she was on a trip with the group, she had the calling to help the poor and have a religious life. At a young age of 18, she decided to become a nun and joined Sisters of Loreto group in Dublin for training. After this, she was granted permission to travel to India and took her formal religious vows. She was named Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux – the patron saint of missionaries.
Her first assignment was to teach and was sent to Calcutta at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls. She received the title of ‘Mother’ after her final vows and was called ‘Mother Teresa’ thereon. She committed her life to kindness, generosity, and devotion to Christ. As the school was close to slums, she witnessed the widespread poverty in the city which made a huge impact on her. In September 1946, while she was travelling on a train, she received her second ‘call within a call.’ Christ asked her to abandon her teaching and work for the poorest and sickest people. It was in 1948 that she got permission to pursue her calling and took medical training for six months. She donned blue and white saree that she wore for the rest of her life and travelled to Calcutta to serve “the unwanted, the unloved, and the uncared.”
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa soon turned her calling into actions by setting up an open-air school and home for dying people by convincing the government to donate the building. Soon after attracting financial support and volunteers, in 1950, her group received official recognition as a religious community, the Missionaries of Charity. Apart from the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, the members added the fourth one, i.e., give free service to poorest.
Her work soon gained popularity and support from politicians and people. In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work “in bringing help to suffering humanity.” Presently, there are 700 missions in 130 countries extending help to the poor, and sick, through orphanages and hospices.
From Mother Teresa’s inspiration, we intend to promote the development of women in need and provide them with the opportunities to grow and achieve their dreams.
“While what we are doing through WETA is just a drop in the ocean, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”