Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), known simply as Mother Teresa, was born to a family of Albanian descent in what is now Macedonia. As a young girl Mother Teresa was fascinated by stories she heard of missionaries serving in India. By age 12 she discerned a vocation to the religious life, and at the age of 18 joined the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary to India. She chose her religious name after St. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. She arrived in Calcutta, India in 1929 and taught at a schoolhouse for wealthy children, eventually becoming head mistress. She enjoyed her work, but became increasingly disturbed by the extreme poverty and societal unrest she observed around her. In 1946 she received a "call within a call" and began her own religious order in Calcutta dedicated to ministering to, in her words, "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." This order was established in 1950 with 12 sisters and named the Missionaries of Charity. By the time of her death on September 5, 1997, the Missionaries of Charity had grown to 4,000 sisters operating 610 missions in 123 countries. She received the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize for her inspiring work with social outcasts. Mother Teresa was canonized by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016. Her feast day is September 5th.

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