Mother Teresa - She lived for others
All of us know her as Mother Teresa but she was born at Skopje now capital of Macedonia, on 27 August 1910 with the name Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu or Agnes Bojaxiu in an Albanian farmer’s family of Macedonia area in Yugoslavia. Gonxhe that literally means a bud of rose or tiny flower in Albanian language was destined to shine like a flower of rose in the whole world. The lady who gave birth to ‘Missionaries of Charity’ a Roman Catholic religious mission basically soon became world famous revolution to help the cause of downtrodden, poor, children, sick suffering from diseases as leprosy, tuberculosis, cancer, women brought from brothels, beggars, people living on footpaths and unloving conditions. Mother Teresa who started her journey alone in 1949 with a heart full of love, service and willingness to do whatever she could for the sake of humanity soon achieved her goals.
Life of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa a very serious lady full of charity and love for poor and helpless had firm faith in humanistic values. She was interested to serve human cause by joining any of the different missions from Yugoslavia active in Bengal working for the cause of sick and poor. She started her career by joining ‘Sisters of Loreto’ after completion her schooling and she was sent to Dublin, Ireland the headquarters of Loreto to learn English language in the year 1928. Next year she was transferred to Darjeeling where she went under training and adopted the name Teresa in 1931 after the great Saint Teresa of Spain.
Agnes was Mother Teresa from now on. After completion of her training in Darjeeling in 1931, she was posted in Intali in a Bengali school where she taught history and geography for 16 years and was later promoted to the post of head mistress of that school. However, the turning point came to her life in 1939 when she was deputed to teach in a middle level school in Lower circular road along with two other sisters of Intali School once in a week. That took her with the contact of poor local Bengali children out of the convent world. That was almost the same time when Mahatma Gandhi was busy with his ‘Grow More Grain’ agitation in Calcutta and local rich people were whole-heartedly supporting him in this social cause.
Some of the young girls from the Bengali school also joined the movement with the inspiration of Mother Teresa. In fact, Mother Teresa was source of inspiration for different reasons to those studying in her school and that was the reason that when she stayed away from the school for personal reason and the school became center of indiscipline she had to be called back. The presence of Mother Teresa worked magically and everything went back to normal. Mother did not punish those erring students for their indiscipline but her personality did the trick.
Mother Teresa looked for the entire personality development of her students instead of keeping their activities to merely studies. She would take them out for service of poor by visiting such areas on every Saturdays. She prompted her students for public welfare, meditation, education and everything that will be useful for their all-round personality development. She had divided her students in different groups who would visit different hospitals, communities and wherever they were needed to serve the poor. The girls of these groups used to tell their experiences of service to poor and needy to Mother Teresa, which made her think deeply. Mother Teresa developed good spiritual relations with many of her students which proved important in her life. In the mean time Mother Teresa did not keep well therefore she was sent to Darjeeling for rest.
Mother Teresa was uneasy and had taken the decision for her future while traveling by the train to Darjeeling in 1946 for her vacation. She had mentioned it later as the inspiration coming from the God himself as if He was telling her to look for the real purpose of her life that was assigned to her. She knew her destiny but was unsure how and where to start her journey. During her stay in Darjeeling she thought over and planed her future in detail. She now had a clear picture in her mind.
She went back to Calcutta and consulted her mentor and spiritual guru father of Khidirpore church for his guidance to achieve her goals. She wanted to begin a new mission for sisters and she had a blue print ready for the same written on few pieces of papers. She wanted to help the poor and sick, orphans and suffering people who did not have anyone to look after them. She wanted to take the services of dedicated women in a new dress of white saree with blue border on it. She had everything planned in detail. The new organization was to begin with the name of ‘Missionaries of Charity’ she wanted her plan to be presented before the bishop of Kolkata by Father Wayne of Khidarpore Church.
Her scheme had a major problem, before beginning a new program it was mandatory for her to leave the Loreto. As per the rules of Church a Christian leaving the society, the concerned member must seek the permission of the bishop of the area. Leaving the church without permission of the bishop was not permitted and considered illegal in Christian society. The local area bishop was responsible for every activity of church workers therefore it was mandatory for Mother Teresa to seek the permission before starting his own campaign.
Mother got the permission to leave Loreto in the end from Rome and father Wayne was given the job to convey it to her. She saw the permission with tearful eyes and went for a long prayer before reading it. She wanted to leave the Loreto but decided to postpone it by a few days. She went to market the next day and bought a white saree with blue border. Incidentally that white bordered saree is the uniform of the sisters of ‘Missionaries of Charity’. Mother Teresa prayed with others in Loreto and left but she later admitted that leaving Loreto was like a big sacrifice for her.
She began her Campaign
Despite all the confidence she had in almighty and willingness to serve she was not yet fully prepared for her mission. She was an Indian citizen, knew local language and problems of Kolkata but these were not enough to carry out her plans therefore the Bishop of Calcutta decided to send her to Patna to learn basics of medicines and health related knowledge. She started for Patna on 18 August 1948 and the girls who came to see her off did not recognize her in a white saree with blue border she was wearing as her new uniform. She leaned as much about nursing and basic health care within three months in Holy Family hospital Patna as much a nursing student learns in three years that was her willpower to learn and begin her duty toward humanity.
Mother Teresa worked up to 16 hours a day to achieve her goals and as soon as she completed her training she came back to Kolkata. Now Kolkata was her battlefield for the sake of humanity and service of poor and sick. She stood up to face the challenges with confidence and willpower to solve the problems of suffering people. She approached father Hennery and asked about whereabouts of Motijheel which was a little astounding for him because she was asking for a place that was adjacent to previous workplace Intali. However, once she reached there to Motijheel, she asked everyone for a place from where she could begin her campaign. She found a hut ultimately for five rupees a month but she had no furniture there, neither a blackboard. So, she had no alternate to teach the children but writing on ground, singing songs for the children, teaching the good habits, and making them aware about their health related problems. That was beginning of her campaign.
She got a home finally
She had no place to live for herself therefore searching for one in that area so when a small organization offered her a place to live temporarily she accepted it happily. Few other missionaries were trying for her residence and finally she got a place to live in 14, Creek Lane at Circular Road on the third floor in the house of Mr. Michael. It was a quiet evening of February when Teresa reached to stay there with a small box as her only belonging that was used as table, box and chair by her. She continued her activity of going to Motijheel every morning after her prayer session, to teach children but with an added help, the daughter of Michel would accompany her to her efforts.
She started a clinic
Meanwhile she added another feature to her activities; she opened a small clinic near the church at Circular road. A gentleman donated an old X-ray machine to her dispensary but her main problem was shortage of medicines. Although she never hesitated in asking for help but medicines were her real problem. Once she asked her landlord to arrange for medicines for her dispensary who took the list to a big medicine manufacturing company of Kolkata. The manager of the company asked them to come next day but he learnt that they wanted those medicines as donation he became furious and asked them to get out. Mother Teresa sat their on a chair praying to God unless the manager agreed to supply the medicines free of charge. Incidentally she received more medicines regularly in future without any cost.
She had assistance
Meanwhile a strange incident took place when one of her former students Subhashini Das one day knocked her door because she wanted to work for the mission of Mother Teresa. She was not interested in marriage at the age when she was still a student of class 11. Her family insisted that she got married but the matter reached to the court. The judge had no choice but to decide in favor of Subhashini when he saw her fully determined to stay with Mother Teresa serving the cause of poor. Once Subhashini joined the mission more than a dozen of her former students from Bengali school in Intali joined the mission and completed their own education along with doing the social work. Now the 14, Creek Lane was bubbling with social activities and the three rooms which were housing them were not enough to accommodate them all. The journey that Mother Teresa started and joined by Subhashini and other like her has reached to thousands and still counting.Mo
Missionaries of Charities
Later, Mother Teresa manage to buy three houses from Islam who was leaving to relocate to East Pakistan now Bangladesh, presently the headquarters of ‘Missionaries of Charity’ which houses the girls from different countries who come to serve the humanity. Missionaries of Charity was officially formed in 1950 but Mother Teresa was not limited to Church only but true symbol of selfless woman who used to visit temples, mosques, Gurudwaras and churches alike. She accepted whatever helps came her way from any source. She spent all money she received in awards and rewards for the benefit of poor and suffering people.
Mother Teresa was very simple by nature but she was firm with her ideology and if she decided to something, it was hard to stop her from achieving it. She was honored by Padma Shri in 1962 for her services for the ‘cause of human’ but she dedicated it to people of Kalighat, Kolkata saying that it belongs to people of Kalighat who are the real winner of this award. It was kept in ‘Nirmal Hriday’ the home for the dying because she thought it was the right place for such an award and the poorest of the poor the residents of Nirmal Hriday were the real winner of that award. She won many more awards like the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1969 that is India's highest civilian award, Pope John Peace prize in 1971, the Bharat Ratna, Ramon Magsaysay Award and the Pacem in Terris Award. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the highest prize awarded to an individual in the world. Besides above mentioned prizes there are hundreds of prizes given by almost all the countries of the world but Mother Teresa always used all the money for the service for the poor people through her charity mission.
The expected sainthood for departed Mother
Death is ultimate truth for every living person and Mother Teresa knew this, she used to say that when I will feel that my time has come, I would lie down on a bed in my mission with other patients and wait for the end of my life. Mother fought with death for 18 days in August 1997 while she suffered from Pneumonia and Malaria. She was advised to take full bed rest after the heart attack but she never cared for own diseases and kept busy serving others. Mother Teresa continued her job until she breathed her last and no praises are big for the goddess of love and charity.
Mother Teresa lived in a period when achieving sainthood is not easy but if she had lived in an earlier time that would not have been that difficult to get sainthood as soon as she left this world. The beatification of Mother Teresa has already been conducted on Oct. 19, 2003 by the then Pope John Paul the second. And there is no doubt that the way Mother lived, she will surely be named a saint sooner than our expectations.
Photo source- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa
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