Mother Teresa Biography From Wikipedia: Mother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was a Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
By the 1970s, she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary and book Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools.
She has been praised by many individuals, governments and organizations; however, she has also faced a diverse range of criticism. These include objections by various individuals and groups, including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Parenti, Aroup Chatterjee, Vishva Hindu Parishad, against the proselytizing focus of her work including a strong stance against contraception and abortion, a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty and alleged baptisms of the dying. Medical journals also criticised the standard of medical care in her hospices and concerns were raised about the opaque nature in which donated money was spent.
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Gonxhe meaning “rosebud” in Albanian) was born on 26 August 1910, in Üsküb, Ottoman Empire (now Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia). Although she was born on 26 August, she considered 27 August, the day she was baptized, to be her “true birthday.” She was the youngest of the children of a family from Shkodër, Albania, born to Nikollë and Drana Bojaxhiu. Her father, who was involved in Albanian politics, died in 1919 when she was eight years old. After her father’s death, her mother raised her as a Roman Catholic. Her father’s origin was possibly from Prizren, Kosovo while her mother’s origin was possibly from a village near Gjakova, Kosovo.
According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, in her early years Agnes was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service, and by age 12 was convinced that she should commit herself to a religious life. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She never again saw her mother or sister.
Agnes initially went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English, the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school children in India. She arrived in India in 1929, and began her novitiate in Darjeeling, near the Himalayan mountains. She took her first religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931. At that time she chose the name Teresa after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. She took her solemn vows on 14 May 1937, while serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta.
Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta. The Bengal famine of 1943 brought misery and death to the city; and the outbreak of Hindu/Muslim violence in August 1946 plunged the city into despair and horror.
Mother Teresa Bio From Biography.com: (baptized August 27, 1910, Skopje, Macedonia, Ottoman Empire [now in Republic of Macedonia]—died September 5, 1997, Calcutta [Kolkata], India; beatified October 19, 2003) founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to the poor, particularly to the destitute of India. She was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1979 Nobel Prize for Peace.
The daughter of an ethnic Albanian grocer, she went to Ireland in 1928 to join the Sisters of Loretto at the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary and sailed only six weeks later to India as a teacher. She taught for 17 years at the order’s school in Calcutta (Kolkata).
In 1946 Sister Teresa experienced her “call within a call,” which she considered divine inspiration to devote herself to caring for the sick and poor. She then moved into the slums she had observed while teaching. Municipal authorities, upon her petition, gave her a pilgrim hostel, near the sacred temple of Kali, where she founded her order in 1948. Sympathetic companions soon flocked to her aid. Dispensaries and outdoor schools were organized. Mother Teresa adopted Indian citizenship, and her Indian nuns all donned the sari as their habit. In 1950 her order received canonical sanction from Pope Pius XII, and in 1965 it became a pontifical congregation (subject only to the pope). In 1952 she established Nirmal Hriday (“Place for the Pure of Heart”), a hospice where the terminally ill could die with dignity. Her order also opened numerous centres serving the blind, the aged, and the disabled. Under Mother Teresa’s guidance, the Missionaries of Charity built a leper colony, called Shanti Nagar (“Town of Peace”), near Asansol, India.
In 1963 the Indian government awarded Mother Teresa the title Padmashri (“Lord of the Lotus”) for her services to the people of India. In 1964, on his trip to India, Pope Paul VI gave her his ceremonial limousine, which she immediately raffled to help finance her leper colony. In 1968 she was summoned to Rome to found a home there, staffed primarily with Indian nuns. In recognition of her apostolate, she was honoured on January 6, 1971, by Pope Paul, who awarded her the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work.
In her later years Mother Teresa spoke out against divorce, contraception, and abortion. She also suffered ill health and had a heart attack in 1989. In 1990 she resigned as head of the order but was returned to office by a near unanimous vote—the lone dissenting voice was her own. A worsening heart condition forced her retirement, and the order chose the Indian-born Sister Nirmala as her successor in 1997. At the time of Mother Teresa’s death, her order included hundreds of centres in more than 90 countries with some 4,000 nuns and hundreds of thousands of lay workers. Within two years of Mother Teresa’s death, the process to declare her a saint was begun, and Pope John Paul II issued a special dispensation to expedite the process of canonization. She was beatified on October 19, 2003, reaching the ranks of the blessed in the shortest time in the history of the church.
Although Mother Teresa displayed cheerfulness and a deep commitment to God in her daily work, her letters (which were collected and published in 2007) indicate that she did not feel God’s presence in her soul during the last 50 years of her life. The letters reveal the suffering she endured and her feeling that Jesus had abandoned her at the start of her mission. Continuing to experience a spiritual darkness, she came to believe that she was sharing in Christ’s Passion, particularly the moment in which Christ asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Despite this hardship, Mother Teresa integrated the feeling of absence into her daily religious life and remained committed to her faith and her work for Christ.