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History Of Mother Teresa History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Mother Teresa was born in August 26 1910 in the city of Skopje. Skopje lies within Macedonia, a small country just north of Greece. Her real name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was an independent woman who feels she can change the world by the path of God. A true hero is a normal person just like us who is committed to do extraordinary things. Mother Teresa is a hero through her determination, humbleness, and courage. People throughout time had always envisioned a hero to be born with power. However, that does not entirely define someone a hero. Mother Teresa was a true humble heroin who dedicated her life in helping the poor of India.

Who was this woman, and where did she come from? What inspired her to live her life in the way she did? How did someone who went out of her way to avoid the spotlight, calling herself “a little pencil in God’s hands,” became one of the most famous faces of the 20th century? The Bojaxhiu family was Roman Catholic. The baby girl’s family called her Gonxha, which means “little bud” or “flower bud” in Albanian. She has an older sister named Aga and an older brother named Lazar. Their father Nikola Bojaxhiu, was a successful building contractor and merchant who traveled widely in Europe and even as far away as Egypt. Nikola’s wife, Drana, was a traditional Albanian housewife who spent her days looking after the children, cooking, cleaning, and mending. Hardworking and strict, she was deeply religious, attending the Sacred Heart Church nearly every morning for Mass and supervising the family’s evening prayers. When Agnes was still very young, central Europe was swept by a series of wars. The Balkan Wars fought by the countries surrounding her homeland were soon followed by the Great War instigated nearby Sarajevo. Nikola attend a political dinner where these matters would be discussed. He was brought back home gravely ill. Agnes was sent out to fetch a priest. She went to the railroad station, where she spotted a priest but Nikola died within hours. Doctors suspected he might have been poisoned because of political leanings. Drana was devastated by her husband’s death. Drana was too severly depressed to manage the household. Most of the work fell to Aga, who was the oldest child at 15, but 8 years old Agnes and 12 year old Lazar felt the burden as well. But Drana had a resilient spirit, and the support of her faith and religious community. Drana was such a strong inspiration to her daughter that Agnes would later say, “Home is where the mother is.” (Biography of Mother Teresa 42)

At the age of 12, Agnes felt strongly that she had been called to lead a religious life. She was deeply private about the details of this calling for the rest of her life, saying only that it didn’t involve any vision or miracle. Nevertheless, she became convince that religious service would be her path. In 1925, when Agnes turned 15, a Jesuit priest named Father Franjo Jambrekovic became the new priest at the Sacred Heart Church. Father Jambrekovic was well versed in science, medicine, arts, and culture, and taught the young people of the parish about many of the things that interested him, including how to conduct an orchestra. Energetic and inspiriting, he offered concerts, walks, and other outing; Father Jambrekovic also formed a religious society for girls called the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Agnes became an active member of this youth group. During this time, Father Jambrekovic told his parishioners about a group of Jesuit missionaries who were working with the poor in Bengal, India. Agnes was stirred by these reports. Agnes had dreamed of doing religious work in Africa; now India became the place where she hoped to serve. Father Jambrekovic encouraged her to follow her heart, saying that if the thought of serving God and his people filled her with joy; it was the right path for her. After much reflection and prayer, she decided to join the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish order that worked with the Jesuit brothers in Bengal, India. Finally, she would have a chance to see the place she’d heard so much about, and to make a difference in the lives of India’s poor.

The country where Agnes Gonxha and her new traveling companion, Betika, went to start their religious training known as The Sister of Loreto. During her six-week training in Ireland she worked very hard at this task. Like other postulants, she wore a long black dress. The ship’s first stop in India was the port city of Madras, where Sister Teresa was stunned by the “indescribable” poverty. She described the whole families sleeping on the streets: “Day and night they live in the open mats they have made from large palm leaves or often on the bare ground. They are all virtually naked, wearing at best a ragged loin cloth” (Biography of Mother Teresa 61) Every morning, Sister Teresa and other novices taught local students at St. Teresa’s school, a one room schoolhouse serving about 20 girls and boys. She was well liked by her young students, who nicknamed her “Ma” (mother) and “Bengali Teresa” because of her ease and fluency in that language. She was assigned to work for a short period of time with the nursing staff of a nearby medical station, and her contact with the desperate, ill, and sometimes starving people many of whom had walked for hours to get help made a lasting impression on her. Not after she took her first vows, Sister Teresa was reassigned to teach at St. Mary’s, convent run by the Sisters of Loreto in Calcutta. However, she was traveling away from the peace and beauty of the Darjeeling hills and heading toward poor and troubled Calcutta, to be her new home.

Calcutta was the center of British military operations in India and other parts of Asia during World War II, and there was a constant threat of air raids from the enemy nation of Japan. During the war, all transportation systems in India, from national railroads to the riverboats used to deliver rice, were taken over by the British military. Shipments of rice from neighboring Burma were taken over by the British military. Shipments of rice from neighboring Burma were stopped altogether. These shortages combined with two winter harvest disaster a cyclone and flood caused the Great Famine of 1943. It was estimated that two to four million Indians died of hunger during this time. The Loreto Sisters at Entally were affected by the famine and war. Mother Teresa left Calcutta for her relaxing retreat. Mother Teresa knew well that the Catholic Church had strict regulations governing its nuns’ activities, and that leaving the convent to work with the poor would not be an option unless she received a special permission from the church authorities. During her retreat in Darjeeling, she prayed fervently for further guidance. When she returned to Calcutta, she met with Father Van Exem and told him about the experience she described “the call within a call (Biography of Mother Teresa 64)” she had been called by God once to become a nun, and now felt herself called to move outside the rules by which all nuns lived. She wanted to found a new order whose members would live and serve the poor. When she learned that she had received special permission to leave the convent for a year with renouncing her vows, she was thrilled beyond measure and asked to go to the town right away.

At the hospital, Mother Teresa learned how to attend to patients dying of smallpox and cholera, how to give injections, make beds with hospital corners, and assist in delivering babies. Father Van Exem arranged for Mother Teresa to live with an order called the Little Sisters of the Poor, who ran a nursing home for the poor. The Little Sisters lived a simple life of poverty.

On December 21, 1948, Mother Teresa dressed in her white and blue cotton sari and a pair of rough sandals the Patna sisters had given her.

As people learned what Mother Teresa was doing, some stepped forward to help with small donations of money or food. She even had enough money to buy her students milk for lunch every day and bars of soap as prizes. People in the community gave the school furniture and books. As Mother Teresa had enough money to buy a home known as the Motherhouse, and it is still the center of the operations for the Missionaries of Charity’s work in Calcutta today. The building the city officials offered to her was a large one on the banks of Hooghly River, a tributary of the sacred Ganges. This temple attracted many pilgrims, including some who were ill and wished to die in a sacred site. Mother Teresa welcomed people of all faiths. Mother Teresa’s next project was a home for abandoned babies and children, which she called Shishu Bhavan. In Calcutta, infants were often orphaned, but Mother Teresa felt very strongly that they should be cared for and held so that they could experience love. It was to be only the first of many such homes, as the Missionaries of Charity continued to grow.

The movement that had begun when one determined nun walked into the slums grew quickly. More young women came to the Motherhouse wanting to join the new order, and volunteers from many walks of life. Mother Teresa also started a program of mobile clinics to help people in parts of Calcutta that didn’t have access to medical help. In 1956, New York City’s Catholic Relief donated 5,000 to help Missionaries of Charity. In 1958, more than 600 lepers were received regular treatment. During these years of expansion, Mother Teresa began to realize the value of public relations. She had been the subject of many flattering articles in the Indian press, which resulted in further donations and new volunteers. Mother Teresa also created an organization for lay volunteers, borrowing a name Gandhi used for his helpers. Many people from all walks of life helped the Missionaries of Charity. Doctors, nurses, and dentists often provided free care. By the late 1960s, Mother Teresa herself had become a more visible figure. She appeared on the covers of various Catholic magazines. In 1972, she received word that her mother had died. A year later, Aga was dead as well. Mother Teresa tried to divert the attention from herself to the poor she served, and above all to God calling herself “a little pencil in God’s hands. (Biography of Mother Teresa 94)” Maybe so, but that pencil was making quite an imprint on the world.

The announcement came out in October 1979: After three nominations, the Nobel committee had finally agreed to award the Peace Prize to Mother Teresa. Throughout 1980s and early 1990s, Mother Teresa met with a wide array of religious leaders. Mother Teresa was traveling up to 10 months of each year, leaving the Motherhouse in others’ hands.

However, Mother Teresa suffered a second, near – fatal heart attack in 1989. Yet she continued to work and travel. Through the 86 year old Mother Teresa, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash. This senseless and tragic death was difficult for Mother Teresa, and not long afterward, on the event of Diana’s funeral, she died of a heart attack in the Motherhouse. A week later, the government of India held an official state funeral, full of pomp and circumstance. Mother Teresa’s body was carried on the same gun carriage that had been used for the funerals of Gandhi and the streets were crowded where a funeral Mass was held. At last, Mother Teresa was laid to rest on the grounds of the Motherhouse, under a plain stone slab.

From Mother Teresa’s early childhood she was an excellent student with a strong interest in writing, especially poetry. She always carried a notebook in which she wrote down her thoughts. Her family lived a simple life as the father, Nikola, was building contractor and the mother, Drana, was Albanian housewife. As Mother Teresa joined the religious service at a young age shows the humbleness she have toward India’s poor. She concluded: “If our people could only see all this, they would stop grumbling about their own misfortune and offer thanks to God for blessing them with such abundance. (Biography of Mother Teresa 29)” Mother Teresa chooses to follow the path of God and serve the people who lived in the slumps. Many would not dare touch the ill and diseased people and Mother Teresa wants people to be aware and appreciate small things in life. It shows Mother Teresa’s humble goal of helping them, yet Mother Teresa of Calcutta did just that, founding orphanages and shelters in her adopted home of India.

Calcutta was the home where Mother Teresa spends most of her life and it was also a time where she makes the biggest decision of her life which was leaving the convent. To leave the convent she need sends a letter to the church authorities to give up her vows as a nun. She even agreed to the terms of the archbishop’s letter, and prayed for the outcome. This shows that Mother Teresa’s determination and dedication to follow her path. Even Father Van Exem never doubted authenticity of her call, explaining, “Mother was not an exceptional person, She was an ordinary Loreto nun, a very ordinary person but with great love for her Lord. (Biography of Mother Teresa 52)” Convincing a higher authority can be a difficult process yet sister of Loreto, Mother Teresa was still determined to remain bound to Jesus.

If she was stubborn and difficult, she was also tremendously disciplined and effective at what she set out to do. It is hard to overestimate the courage it took for a nun to step outside the traditions of the church to which she had dedicated her life and walk alone into the slums of Calcutta, with no idea whether anyone else would follow in her footsteps. Mother Teresa’s courage was recognized around the world even during the time of hardship in Calcutta where there was constant air raids and shortages. The Little Sisters were constantly affected by famine and war yet Mother Teresa continued to stay on task and accomplish her mission. In the end, it may be Mother Teresa’s own words that help separate what she was from and she was not.

The simple nun from Skopje would now be known as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Through her humbleness, determination, and courage she has evoke a wide variety of responses around the world.

Despite Mother Teresa’s old age and fragile appearance. She had shown so many accomplishments and without question many thousands of lives have been saved and otherwise touched by the order she founded. She has proved that a hero does not need powers or physical strength. A hero can be ordinary people just as Mother Teresa, by living her life in the way she did, she offered the world an example of just how much one person can make a difference.

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