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| Mother Teresa
(Angel of Peace)
Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, the 1979 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was a true worshiper of humanity. Her life was a story of love and compassion. She thought serving of God was by serving “Poorest of the poor”.
Mother Teresa was born to Albanian parents at Skopje in Yugoslavia, on August 26, 1910. She started her life with no resources other than her faith. At the age of eighteen, she left home to become a nun and to get trained as a teacher. Teresa came to India in 1928. The year 1946 was a turning point in her life. When she was going to Darjeeling, she saw a poor hungry child on the platform asking for something. She was deeply touched and decided to give up everything in her life in serving poorest of the poor.
She chose to work in the slums of the over crowded city of Calcutta to serve the destitutes. In December 1948, in Calcutta, she opened her first home and her first school for slum children. Later she became an Indian citizen. Since then she had never looked back. She founded Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to help the poor. By that time she started wearing sari with blue border along with her Indian nuns She organised schools and dispensaries as well as centres for the aged, dying, blind, crippled and lepers. Approximately 700 nuns worked in 60 centres in Calcutta and 70 centres around the world.
Giving recognition to her dedicated work in bringing solace and comfort to those who lost faith in life and God, Government of India awarded the Padmashri in 1962.
Then came the series of awards like the Magsaysay Award, Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International understanding, Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and Bharat Ratna in 1980. After accepting these honours and awards, she said, “I am unworthy of these awards. But I accept it for the glory of the God and for our people ’. She died of a cardiac arrest at 9.30 p.m. on September 5,1997. The whole world mourned her death.
At the time of her death, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had over 4000 sisters and an associated brotherhood of 300 members, operating 610 missions in 123 countries. These included hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberclosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, personal helpers, orphanages and schools. The Missionaries of Charity were also aided by Co-workers, who were over one million in numbers.