Lesson Eight

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Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, Macedonia* on August 27, 1910. Her Albanian father had a small farm. At the age of twelve, when she was a student at a Roman Catholic elementary school, she knew she had a duty to help the poor. She decided to get training for missionary work and, a few years later, made India her choice. At the age of eighteen, she left home and joined an Irish community of nuns with a mission in Calcutta. After a few months’ training in Dublin, she was sent to India and in 1928 she became a nun.

From 1929 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta. The suffering and poverty she observed outside the convent walls made a deep impression on her. In 1946, she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no money, she started an open-air school for homeless children. Soon voluntary helpers joined her, and financial support came from various church organizations, as well as from the city officials. In 1950, she was permitted to start her own religious community “The Missionaries of Charity”. Its task was to care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after.

Mother Teresa had fifty charity projects in India, including work among people living in slums, children’s homes, and clinics. The community is still active and does charity work for the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States.

Mother Teresa’s work received a lot of attention all over the world, and she was given a number of awards including a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, for her promotion of peace and brotherhood among the nations. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997.