“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” Mother Teresa
Who was Mother Teresa?
Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu; 1910 – 1997), was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools. Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.
Teresa received a number of honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonised (recognised by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016, and the anniversary of her death (5 September) is her feast day. A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticised for her opposition to abortion, and criticised for poor conditions in her houses for the dying. Her authorised biography was written by Navin Chawla and published in 1992, and she has been the subject of films and other books.
Teresa has been commemorated by museums and named the patroness of a number of churches. She has had buildings, roads and complexes named after her, including Albania’s international airport. Mother Teresa Day, 19 October, is a public holiday in Albania. In 2009 the Memorial House of Mother Teresa was opened in her hometown of Skopje, Macedonia. The Roman Catholic cathedral in Pristina, Kosovo, is named in her honour. Its construction, begun in 2011, sparked controversy in Muslim circles who saw it as oversized relative to the number of Catholics in the area.
Francis canonised her at a ceremony on 4 September 2016 in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Tens of thousands of people witnessed the ceremony, including 15 government delegations and 1,500 homeless people from across Italy. It was televised live on the Vatican channel and streamed online; Skopje, Teresa’s hometown, announced a week-long celebration of her canonisation. In India, a special mass was celebrated by the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata.
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Mother Teresa.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Aug. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.