Mother Teresa, as she came to be known, was born Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje, in the modern republic of Macedonia, in 1910. Her parents were devout Albanian Catholics. In 1919, her father died in mysterious circumstances. Some have speculated that he was assassinated because he was an ardent Albanian Nationalist. Agnes became very close to her mother, a very pious woman, who regularly invited the destitute to dine in her home.
Agnes attended a convent school, and at eighteen she decided she wanted to become a nun. She joined the Loreto Order in Dublin, Ireland. A year later, Agnes moved to India, and while there, she took her first vows as a nun in 1931. The future saint became a teacher in a girl’s school, and it was there that she first became devoted to the poor. Agnes firmly believed that education could lift many of people out of destitution. In 1937, she took her final vows as a nun and became known as Mother Teresa. It was customary among the Loreto Order that nuns refer to themselves as Mother.
For several years, Mother Teresa worked as a teacher, until she had a religious experience in 1946. Mother Teresa believed that Christ was calling her to work among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. However, she had taken a vow of obedience, and her order refused to allow her to leave her school and convent. It took a year and a half of pleading before Mother Teresa was allowed to commence her work with the poor in the slums.
Soon, Mother Teresa had begun to make real changes in the lives of the poor. She opened a school and a hospice. She attracted followers, and in 1950, her new Order, The Missionaries of Charity, received papal recognition. As the ranks of her congregation grew, the scope of Mother Teresa's charitable activities expanded to not just Calcutta, but to all over India and the globe. Over the years, she and her Order founded a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, and several mobile health clinics; all cared for the poor of many faiths.
Mother Teresa was personally brave. During the Lebanese Civil War, she personally helped both Christian and Muslim children to safety. She received many honors in her lifetime. In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mother Teresa is believed to be responsible for one miracle. An Indian woman’s tumor was cured after the application of a locket containing an image of Mother Teresa.
A famous quote of Mother Teresa reads:
“Spread love where ever you can. Let no one ever come to you without feeling happier.”
Mother Teresa died in 1997.
The beatification of Mother Teresa took place on 2003 and she was bestowed with the title of Blessed. She will be canonized a saint on September 4th, 2016.