St. Teresa of Calcutta (also commonly known as Mother Teresa) had a remarkable life and most of us know something about her-or at least one of her quotes. She didn’t just decide to join a convent and go into the streets of Calcutta helping the poor and homeless and become an inspiration to us (even though she DEFINITELY did that)! There’s a whole lot more to her.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje (that’s in Macedonia), and went by Gonxha. She was what we would call a “cradle Catholic,” receiving her first communion at age five and confirmation at age six! She was very involved in her parish as a youth and eventually got super involved with missionary work. At age 18 she left home to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ireland. There she received her name Sister Mary Teresa. A year later she departed for her first trip to India, arriving in Calcutta.
Life in Calcutta
In Calcutta she was assigned to the Loreto Entally community and taught at the St. Mary school for girls. She had many happy years at Loreto and even was promoted to principal of the school. But it was while on a bus to a retreat that St. Teresa heard the call from Jesus to help Him serve the poor, homeless and those cast out by society.
After almost two years of discernment, Teresa received permission to begin her new calling. On August 17, 1948, she donned for the first time in her famous white with blue border sari and walked through the Loreto convent gates to enter the world of the poor and went for the first time to the slums. She visited families and washed and bandaged the sores on children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and tuberculosis. Every day would start with communion and then went out to find and serve Him amongst “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for,” always with a rosary in hand.
In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the several missionaries to continue her work. She won many, many awards including the Noble Peace Prize in 1979. St. Teresa truly embodied Jesus’ desire to love and care for those cast out by society.
Why a heart in hand?
Teresa of Calcutta’s medal features a heart in hand to symbolize how she used her hands to spread Jesus’ love to those who need it most.
Who would be friends with St. Teresa of Calcutta?
- Teachers (She was a teacher/school administrator for many years).
- Homeless advocates
You can learn even more about Teresa of Calcutta right here.
There are so many wonderful words of wisdom from Teresa of Calcutta, but most people deeply relate to is “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” St. Teresa of Calcutta taught us all that no matter how small the act, just do it with love and it will have great results.
Ready to build a deeper relationship with St. Teresa of Calcutta? Our shop is a great place to start! We have a whole section devoted to her.