We all have our own heroes, people we admire and respect, people who

made an impact on our life, that made us look at the world with a

different eye, Mother Teresa is definitely the one for me.

Although the world is full of good people, great humanitarians that

really care, people who donate billions of dollars, people who raise

their voice to make a difference, Mother Teresa stands out in the

crowd, she is unique.

"It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is

not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving."

She dedicated every day of her adult life caring for "The dying, the

crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved" and she loved

every minute of it because she was loving, she was cleaning, feeding

"Jesus in disguise."

Yes, she fed them, sheltered them, cleaned their wounds, but what is

more important is that she made them feel good, loved, and wanted. She

gave them back their dignity that poverty had taken away from them and

even if they died, they died with a smile on their face knowing that

somebody loves them and somebody cares for them.

"Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your

eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a

cheerful smile. Don't only give your care, but give your heart as


Agreeing or disagreeing with her on abortion, population control,

divorce, or how she raised the money should not shadow Mother Teresa's

life-long contribution and dedication to the poor and humanity.

To criticize someone, It's really easy... I suggest: stop criticizing

her and do it better than she did.

II. Body

A. Mother Teresa's Life

Mother Teresa was born August 27, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, as Agnes

Gonxha Bojaxhiu from Albanian parents: Nikolle and Drandafille


Her father was a successful and well known contractor, her mother was a

housewife. She was the youngest of three children. Mother Teresa's

family was a devoted catholic family. They prayed every evening and

went to church almost everyday. It was her family's generosity, care

for the poor and the less fortunate that made a great impact on young

Mother Teresa's life.

By the age of 12, she had made up her mind, she realized that her

vocation was aiding the poor. At age 18, she then decided to become a

nun, and traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to join the Sisters of Loretto.

After about a year in Ireland, she then leaves to join the Loretto

convent in the northeast Indian city of Darjeeling, where she spends 17

years teaching and being principal of St. Mary's high school in


In 1946, Mother Teresa's life is changed forever. While riding a train

to the mountain town of Darjeeling to recover from suspected

tuberculosis, on the 10th of September, she said that she received a

calling from God "to serve among the poorest of the poor." Less then a

year later she gets permission from the Catholic Church to leave her

order and move to Calcutta's slums to set up her first school.

"Sister Agnes" who was a former student, becomes Mother Teresa's first

follower. Others soon follow, and papal approval arrives to create a

religious order of nuns called the Missionaries of Charity. The

foundation is celebrated on Oct. 7 1950, the feast of the Holy Rosary.

To identify herself with the poor she chooses to wear a plain white

sari with a blue border and a simple cross pinned to her left shoulder.

Their mission is as she would say when she accepted the Nobel peace

prize: "to care for 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."

With the help of Calcutta officials she converts a portion of the

abandoned temple to Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction

into Kalighat Home for the Dying, where even the poorest people would

die with dignity. Soon after she opens up Nirmal Hriday ("Pure Heart"),

a home for the dying, and Shanti Nagar (Town of Peace), a leper colony

and later her first orphanage.

Mother Teresa and the sisters continued opening houses all over India

caring for the poor, washing their wounds, soothing their sores, making

them feel wanted. But her order's work spread across the world after

1965, when Pope Paul VI granted Mother Teresa's request to globally

expand her order.

Whether it was in Ethiopia feeding the hungry, the ghettos of South

Africa or it was her native country Albania when the communist regime

collapsed, Calcutta's Mother Teresa "the living saint" was there.

In 1982, at the height of the siege in Beirut she convinced the parties

to stop the war so she could rescue 37 sick children trapped inside.

Mother Teresa became a symbol of untiring commitment to he poor and

suffering. She was probably the most admired women of all time,

receiving so many rewards and prices for her outstanding work and she

used her reputation traveling all over the world raising money and

support for her causes.

In 1962, she received the Pandma Shri prize for "extraordinary

services." In 1971, Pope Paul VI honors Mother Teresa by awarding her

the first Pope John XXXIII Peace Prize. In 1972, the Government of

India presents her with the Jawaharlel Nehru Award for International

Understanding. In 1979, She wins the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1985,

President Reagan presents her the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S.

civilian award. In 1996, she becomes only the fourth person in the

world to receive an honorary U.S. citizenship.

When she received the Nobel Prize she wore the same trademark, her $1

sari and convinced the committee to cancel a dinner in her honor, using

the money instead to "feed 400 poor children for a year in India."

Today Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity now has 570 missions all

over the world, comprising of 4,000 nuns, a brotherhood of 300 members

and over 100,000 volunteers operating homes for AIDS, leprosy and

tuberculosis patients; soup kitchens, children's and family counseling

programs, orphanages, and schools.

B. Mother Teresa's Health

Mother Teresa's health was deteriorating, part from her age, part from

the conditions where she was living, and part of it was from her trips

all over the world, opening new houses and raising money for the poor.

In 1985, she suffered from a heart attack while in Rome visiting Pope

John Paul II. In 1989, she suffered another almost fatal heart attack

and had a pacemaker implanted. In 1991, she suffers pneumonia in

Tijuana, Mexico which leads to heart failure. In 1996, Mother Teresa

suffers malaria, chest infection and undergoes heart surgery. On March

13th 1997, Sister Nirmala is selected as Mother Teresa's successor.

Finally on September 5th 1997, The world learns that Mother Teresa

"Angel of Mercy" had died at the age of 87.

C. The World Mourns

Queens and First Ladies, Presidents and Prime Ministers, former Heads

of State, Ministers and envoys from over 23 countries, gathered

together on September 13, 1997 to pay their final respects to Mother

Teresa, the Albanian nun who in 1996 topped the Gallup Poll as the most

admired women in the world that devoted her life serving the poorest of

the poor and urged the world not to forget of those in need.

They all represented different countries, they all had different views

on divorce, abortion, religion, and they were all touched by the

devotion of Mother Teresa who like President Clinton said, "has served

the poor, the suffering and the dying, and in so doing she served as an

inspiration and a challenge to all the rest of us"

Among most notable dignitaries were Hillary Clinton, representing the

US, Bernadette Chirac for France, Italy's Prime Minister, Oscar Luigi

Scalfaro, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister Peter Jennings, Albania's

President Rexhep Mejdani, Ghana's President Jerry Rawlings, the Duchess

of Kent represented the British Monarchy, Queen Noor of Jordan, Queen

Sofia of Spain, and Queen Fabiola of Belgium.

The funeral was held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium which holds 15,000

seats. At the insistence of the Missionaries of Charity, about half of

those seats were reserved for those unfortunate people she served

during her life. The State Funeral services usually reserved for heads

of states were led by cardinal A. Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of

state and the Pope's representative.

III. Conclusion

Even with Mother Teresa gone, her sisters at the Missionaries of

Charities are still caring for the poor and sick with the same love and

devotion as Mother Teresa did. Any donation will help them to reach

more and more of the less fortunate.


Now that your familiar with one of the most important human beings to

ever live maybe we can use some of the ideas, thoughts, and behavior

and put it in our daily lives and make this world to be what Mother

Teresa was striving for.

Word Count: 1525

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