Mother Teresa: Early Life, Works, Awards & Life Lessons

Mother Teresa Birth Anniversary: This August marks the 112th birth anniversary of the divine lady Mother Teresa. The Nobel Peace Prize and Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize winner, Bharat Ratna awardee, peace ambassador and philanthropist was born on 26 August 1910 in Albania. She received the title ‘ Saint Teresa of Calcutta’ because of her first organisation ‘Missionaries of Charity’ established at Calcutta in 1950.

Life of Mother Teresa

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu Skopje was born in Albania. It was the early age of 12 when Mother Teresa found her inclination and felt the call to missionary. After joining an Irish community of nuns called Sister of Loreto and completing her training Mother Teresa came to India.

Mother Teresa began her journey in India with a school in Calcutta, here she taught from 1931 to 1948. She observed poverty, helplessness and hunger in India from close and was affected. All of the agony moved her and she chose to devote her life for the betterment of destitute.

From opening schools for slum children to devoting her life in the service of the poor, leprosy patients and orphans, she turned shade for millions. Some words of wisdom by first female saint of India are:

  • “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
  • “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
  • “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
  • “True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray to God and ask Him to give us the courage to love.”
  • “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it.”
  • “I know I am touching the living body of Christ in the broken bodies of the hungry and the suffering.”
  • “I prefer you to make mistakes in kindness than work miracles in unkindness.”
  • The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
  • “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
  • “We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.”

List of Awards Received By Mother Teresa

The eminent personality received numerous recognitions and honours for her selfless love for the society. Some of the prominent awards presented to Mother Teresa include:

  • 1962 Padma Shri Award for distinguished service.
  • 1971 Pope John XXIII Peace Prize
  • 1971 Prize of the Good Samaritan, Boston
  • 1971 Kennedy Prize
  • 1972 Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
  • 1972 Koruna Dut, angel of charity from the President of India.
  • 1973 Templeton Prize
  • 1975 Albert Schweitzer International Prize
  • 1977 Honorary PhD in Theology, University of Cambridge, England
  • 1979 Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1980 Bharat Ratna
  • 1982 Honorary PhD from the Catholic University Brussels, Belgium
  • 1985 Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • 1996 Honorary U.S. citizenship (only the 4th person to receive this honor)
  • 1997 Congressional Gold Medal

Mother Teresa took her last breath on 5 September 1997(also known as International Day of Charity) but her teachings and words still influence millions of people over the world.

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