With simple kindness, faith, and tireless love, Mother Teresa directly served the poorest of the poor and gave hope to people around the world. Born 1910 to an Albanian family in Turkish-owned Skopje, Agnes Gonche Bojaxhiu grew up a devout Roman Catholic. At age 18, she left her family and joined the Sisters of Loreto missionary organization, soon becoming a nun in India and taking on the name Teresa. After several years teaching at the convent outside Kolkatta, she moved into the city after famine and interreligious conflict brought poverty and chaos. She cast aside her nun's habit for a simple sari worn by local women and founded her own order, the Missionaries of Charity, to serve the poorest of the poor. Though she had no money and only a few volunteers, she opened a school in Motijhil and a hospice to protect, in her words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." Her order spread throughout India and soon worldwide, and today there are over 4,000 nuns worldwide in charity centers, orphanages, and schools. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her commitment to faith and service which has made her a symbol throughout the world for love and peace. In 1982, she walked into a war zone untouched to rescue dozens of children trapped in a hospital in besieged Beirut. Soon after her passing in 1997, she was beatified, the first step toward sainthood, by Pope John Paul II. She proves that with a quiet grace and a deep love for each person, a girl from the most humble of beginnings can change the world and help those most in need.
"Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross. Today I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto [her former order] came to tempt me. 'You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again,' the Tempter kept on saying ... Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come."
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
"Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go."
"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
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