Mother Theresaby Tracey E. Dils
On December 10, 1979, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, appeared in Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. How did this tiny, 69-year-old nun, teacher, and missionary come to be honored with one of the world's most prestigious prizes? Born in present-day Macedonia in 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu grew up in a loving and devoutly Roman Catholic family. Inspired by her religion, and influenced by her mother's strong faith, young Agnes believed at an early age that God had a special mission for her. At 18, she entered the order of the Sisters of Loreto. After fulfilling her religious vows and taking the name Sister Teresa, she sailed to Calcutta, India. Stunned by the suffering of the poor, sick, and destitute who lived and died on the city's streets, she discovered her true mission -- to serve the "poorest of the poor." In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity and began the work that would consume the rest of her life. From her first efforts with Calcutta's abandoned and dying, Mother Teresa never waivered in her faith that love and compassion for the poor were the true expressions of God's love. Her determination and persistence in her mission influenced world leaders and changed the lives of millions. With thousands of her followers, she established hospices, orphanages, homes for the dying, and clinics on nearly every continent. When Mother Teresa died in 1997, at the age of 87, hundreds of thousands of people around the world mourned the passing of the woman known as the "saint of the gutter."
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