Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. Her childhood name was Agnes. Her father was a successful businessman and her mother was a housewife. Agnes was very thoughtful little girl who loved to help others.
It is said that Agnes cared about others and helped them since her childhood. Her mother was an equally caring and religious lady. She used to visit the church regularly.
When Agnes was just 9 years, her father got sick and he died, so her mother took care of the children. At the age of twelve, Agnes decided to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ.
At the age of eighteen, she left her parental home and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.
Agnes was trained for a few months in Dublin and then sent to India. Agnes picked her name as Mary Teresa, as she became a missionary. In the city of Kolkata in India, she first worked in a hospital and later taught at the St. Mary’s High School.
She loved teaching, and soon became the favourite teacher of all the students. But the poverty and suffering of the common people of India made her very sad, so she took permission from her seniors to leave the Convent School, and spend the rest of her life taking care of the poor and needy people in Kolkata. She got trained in health care and started taking care of the sick poor people in Kolkata.
She spent every single penny that she had to provide medicines to the poor. But as people came to know about the selfless service of Mother Teresa, they supported her with donations for the good cause. Many others became a part of her team.
On 7th October 1950, Mother Teresa started the “Missionaries of Charity” to take care of the poor and needy people. Maria Teresa, who was by then popularly called Mother Teresa, was joined by many more sisters who wanted to help the poor and sick. The missionaries of charity expanded to 20 cities in India.
By the 1960s, the world opened its doors to Mother Teresa. She was known for her kind heart and the passion to serve the poor and helpless.
Mother Teresa received the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize in 1962. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. By then the Missionaries of Charity had opened 61 new houses in 28 countries other than India.
In 1982, Mother Teresa rescued 37 children trapped in Beirut during the Lebanon War. She visited Armenia after the earthquake in 1988. Mother Teresa also travelled to Ethiopia to assist the poor, and she visited Chernobyl to help the radiation victims. By 1996, Mother Teresa operated 517 missions in over 100 countries.
Her health started declining in 1983 when she got the first heart attack, and she died on 5th September 1997. She was given a ceremonial funeral by the Government of India, to express respect for her selfless service to mankind.
Mother Teresa was a selfless person, who dedicated her life to serving the poor and helpless people. She was officially declared as Saint Teresa of Kolkata on 4th September 2016.