Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Despite the fact that there are many people who are sincere, kind-hearted, and ready to sacrifice, only the few are recognized as blessed or saint. In order to get this status, a person should be ready to dedicate their life unselfishly to God and people. Present essay aims at describing and evaluating the biography of Mother Teresa, taking into account her missionaries of charity, spiritual life, as well as international recognition.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a nurse, religious sister, and, at the same time, the proponent of Roman Catholic views. It is rather important to note that Mother Teresa spent almost her entire life on the territory of India. Moreover, this woman is the founder of Missionaries of Charity. Despite the fact that this religious congregation was established approximately 65 years ago, it is still extremely important for the world community (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, n.d.). According to recent research results, this so-called religious brotherhood consists of more than 4,500 religious sisters that operate in more than 100 countries around the globe. The followers of this congregation live according to such principles as charity and obedience. Besides, missionaries of this brotherhood devote their life to refugees, mentally ill individuals, abandoned children, people with disabilities, and other people with a strong need of help of these sisters. Thus, Mother Teresa as the head of the Missionaries sacrificed her life to people deprived of an opportunity to survive without her help. Mother Teresa received numerous national and international honors as well as awards in many countries, including India and the U.S. In 2003, Mother Teresa was given the status of “Blessed Teresa” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, n.d.).
Taking into account the main biographical data about Mother Teresa, it is important to note that she was born in 1910 on the territory of present Macedonia. From her early childhood, Mother Teresa was deeply fascinated with numerous stories about missionaries and the importance of their contribution to the community. It is believed that as early as at the age of 12 she was sure that her future life would be closely interconnected with religion and charity. At the age of 18, she made a decision to leave her family and became a participant of Sisters of Loreto. At the beginning, she went to Ireland with the primary purpose to learn English because the members of this community used this language in order to teach school children on the territory of India. In 1929, Agnes or, in other words, future Mother Teresa, came to India and decided to learn Bengali in order to have an opportunity to teach children at local school that was called St. Teresa’s School (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, n.d.). In 1931, Agnes made a decision to take the main religious vows as a nun. At the same time, she asked the missionaries to be referred to as Therese de Lisieux (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, n.d.). It is important to note the fact that in 1944 Teresa received the status and duties of headmistress of this school, as she worked there for approximately twenty years of her life. She was extremely fascinated with her job because she felt it was her mission. However, Teresa was depressed and anxious due to poverty, misery, death, and increased violence that surrounded her. She understood that she would fail to cope with these severe problems on her own (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, n.d.).
Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity
In 1948, Mother Teresa started her missionary work that was primarily based on helping poor and destitute people. At the same time, she decided to change her traditional but sophisticated Loreto habit and wore sari with thin borders of blue color. In addition, Mother Teresa accepted Indian citizenship (Epple, 2012). In general, these years may be referred to as the beginning of her missionary work because she was not afraid to go into the slums in order to help the destitute, disabled, and starving. In 1949, Mother Teresa together with several other female volunteers founded a religious community that was aimed to provide assistance to the “poorest among the poor” (Epple, 2012). As Mother Teresa stood at the head of this religious community, the Indian government including the Prime Minister of this country expressed appreciation and gratitude for the efforts to contribute to the welfare of the Indian community. According to the personal diary of Mother Teresa, the first years of her volunteering and missionaries were extremely complicated and exhausting as she had no incomes and found it almost impossible to survive. Furthermore, Teresa confessed that at that period of time she was living in similar conditions to those of the destitute, ill, and poor who needed her help (Epple, 2012).
Taking into consideration the investigations of her biographical data, in 1950, Vatican granted Mother Teresa and her companions the permission to establish a so-called diocesan congregation. After comparatively short period of time, this congregation received the name Missionaries of Charity (Epple, 2012). According to the main missions and objectives of this group of people that assembled with the purpose of religious worship, the members had to ensure aid and care to the homeless, hungry, disabled, and lepers. Moreover, the members of the congregation promised to care about all the “unwanted” and “unloved” to the rest of the society. At the initial stages of its establishment and development, this missionary included only 13 volunteers on the territory of Calcutta. However, by 1997, the number of members of this religious congregation established by Mother Teresa was equal to approximately 4,000 of sisters (Epple, 2012).
In addition, sisters of this congregation cared not only for the poor and disabled but also for the people who lost their breadwinners and homes due to numerous epidemics and natural disasters. At the end of the 20th century, the members of this congregation opened numerous orphanages, hospices for people with AIDs and tuberculosis, and many charity organizations not only on the territory of India but around the globe (Epple, 2012). In 1952, Mother Teresa and her followers successfully opened a specialized establishment that was called Home for the Dying (Thomas, 2010). Indian officials supported her decision and even helped her to adapt one of the abandoned Hindu temples into the home for people that were dying and had no one who could care about them. The role of this establishment was extremely important as it ensured a chance for people to die with dignity. In other words, nurses that worked there thoroughly used individual approaches to all people that lived in free hospice renamed by Mother Teresa as Kalighat. Nurses of this establishment respected all patients without exception regardless of their illness, religion, social status, and other characteristics (Thomas, 2010).
After a short period of time, Mother Teresa and the proponents of her ideas opened a specialized establishment for those people who suffered from Hansen’s disease commonly referred to as leprosy. The main center built for the individuals suffering from this widespread disease was commonly known as City of Peace. It is worth noting that the Missionaries of Charity opened several other leprosy clinics on the territory of Calcutta in order to provide the patients with necessary food, bandages, and medications (Epple, 2012).
Due to the increased numbers of lost and destitute children, Mother Teresa understood the urgent need to create home for the homeless underaged deprived of the opportunity to feel love and care of their parents because of some reasons. Finally, in 1955, Mother Teresa managed to open a so-called “home” for homeless children as well as orphans (Epple, 2012).
This blessed woman was so kind-hearted, enthusiastic, and sympathetic that she could not bear misery, poverty, and hopelessness which thousands of families in India were facing (Murphy, 1983). One of her greatest dreams was to expand her missionary work around the globe. Consequently, with the help of governmental support as well as significant charitable donations that were attracted by the congregation, Mother Teresa together with other members of the Missionary of Charity established and arranged dozens of hospices, orphanages as well as leper clinics for the citizens of India throughout the whole territory of the country (Murphy, 1983). According to the statistics, by 2007, the Missionary of Charity included approximately 450 brothers as well as 5,000 sisters around the world. Nowadays, this religious congregation operates hundreds missions, clinics, shelters, and schools around the globe (Kolodiejchuk, 2010).
Taking into consideration international charity of Mother Teresa and her proponents, it is important to note that this woman expanded the Missionaries of Charity in order to help not only the poor in India, but thousands of other people around the globe. Mother Teresa is recognized not only on the territory of India, but in the rest of the world as well (Kolodiejchuk, 2010). For instance, in 1962, Ramon Magsaysay presented Mother Teresa the Award for her enormous contribution to the international community. In 1985, one of the American Presidents, Reagan, awarded Mother Teresa of Calcutta with Presidential Medal for Freedom (Kolodiejchuk, 2010).
As a result, having analyzed the main biographical information of Mother Teresa and her contribution to the world community, it is possible to summarize that this personality deserves respect and worldwide recognition, as she sacrificed her life with the unique purpose to provide assistance to the poor, ill, homeless, and destitute. Mother Teresa is honored by Indian as well as international governments and civilian establishments not only for her successful efforts for establishing peace, but for her work with orphans, disabled, ex-prostitutes, and victims of natural disasters and epidemics.