Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Helper of the Poor

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a remarkable woman who strongly believed in serving and seeing God in the least of society.

Feast Day: 5 September

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a remarkable woman who strongly believed in serving and seeing God in the least of society.

After a childhood of poverty caused by the death of her father, she joined a religious order known as the Sisters of Loreto. It was in this role that she first came to India and became a teacher at St. Mary’s School for girls.

For twenty years she worked there and eventually became the school’s principal. Her time here was said to be full of joy and Mother Teresa was known for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organisation. This was then compounded, supported and emphasised by her deep love and communion with Christ.

Mother Teresa with children
Mother Teresa with children

Through prayer, discernment and vision, Mother Teresa felt God was calling her to a ‘mission within a mission’ and eventually establish a religious order dedicated to care of the poor.

Mother Theresa of Calcutta went first to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. She started each day with communion then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve God amongst “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”

After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students and her order soon became world renowned for her dedication and love for the poor.

Mother Teresa, in her early years and later in life
Mother Teresa, in her early years and later in life

She began to receive numerous awards and media coverage for her works; this began with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and later she notably won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Everything she received, be it media coverage or awards thanking her for her work, she always accepted purely ‘for the glory of God and in the name of the poor’.

She inspired the world and became a truly modern day hero and, even after her death, her religious order continues to grow and people are cared for and come to faith through the order she founded.

Why Teresa is important

A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community

The example of Mother Teresa is incredible; the stories of her day to day encounters are inspiring and her devotion to Christ is humbling. The more I find out about her the more I’m inspired to help others but also stopped from thinking too great of my own achievements.

Her teachings are real food for thought and the more I follow them the more I see the benefits in my life as they bring me to a place where the life I’m living is more joyful, closer in communion with God and more in the service of others.

She also makes faith feel so liveable and it’s awesome to see people like her who did so much at a time in history where we had two world wars and a nuclear arms race which almost destroyed the world.

Mother Teresa Quotes

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.”

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me, because Jesus has very clearly stated, ‘Be ye holy as my father in heaven is holy.’ So let us pray for each other that we grow in love for each other, and through this love become holy as Jesus wants us to be for he died out of love for us.”

“Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Mother Teresa with baby
Mother Teresa with baby

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”

Mother Teresa with Pope John Paul II
Mother Teresa with Pope John Paul II

“Often I wonder what does really God get from me in this state – no faith, no love – not even in feelings. The other day I can’t tell you how bad I felt. There was a moment when I nearly refused to accept. Deliberately I took the Rosary and very slowly and without even meditating or thinking, I said it slowly and calmly. The moment passed but the darkness is so dark, and the pain is so painful. But I accept whatever He gives and I give whatever He takes. People say they are drawn closer to God, seeing my strong faith. Is this not deceiving people? Every time I have wanted to tell the truth, “that I have no faith”, the words just do not come – my mouth remains closed. And yet I still keep on smiling at God and all.”

“If I ever become a Saint – I will surely be one of ‘darkness’. I will continually be absent from Heaven – to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

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