On Sept. 5, the Catholic Church will be celebrating the feast day of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. The world remembers her as a "living saint".
Bl. Teresa of Calcutta was born to parents Nikola and Drana Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1916 in Skopje of Macedonia and named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was baptized on August 17, 1910 in Macedonia. She was the third child in her family, following sister Aga and a brother, Lazar. Her father, Nikola died, when she was eight years old. Her father was a traveler, an extrovert, and a businessman who spoke five languages. Her mother, Drana, was extremely pious, adopting several orphans. She was known as Gonxha (pronounced gon’KHA) which means “flower bud”.
Gonxha desired early to become a missionary. At the age of eighteen, she joined the Sisters of Loreto. Here she took the name of Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. She was sent to Calcutta, India to teach at St. Mary’s High School for Girls, which was run by the Sisters of Loreto. On May 24, 1937, she took her final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. She then became known as Mother Teresa. In 1944, she became principal of the school.
Mother Teresa received a second calling while on a train. Christ spoke to her, asking her to work in the slums of Calcutta, caring for the sickest and poorest of the people. Pursuing this calling changed her life forever. In one year, she received approval to do the work she was being called to do. After six months of basic medical training she went to the slums to aid the needy and dying. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity with 12 members, most of them students from St. Mary’s. She established a leper colony, an orphanage, a mission house, and several health clinics.
In 1971, Mother Teresa visited New York City, where she opened a soup kitchen and a home to care for HIV/AIDS sufferers. In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1983, Mother Teresa suffered her first heart attack. After suffering from lung, kidney and heart problems for several years, she died on Sept. 5, 1997, which is now her feast day. At the time of her death her Missionaries of Charity numbered over 4,000. She had 610 foundations in 123 countries.
Mother Teresa was beatified on October 19, 2003, after confirmation of her first miracle. The miracle was reported that a woman who had a large and very visible tumor, had stayed with the Missionaries of Charity. After she and the Sisters had prayed for Mother Teresa’s intercession, the growth, six to seven inches in length, had disappeared within several hours. Finding no other medical explanation for the sudden cure it was declared her first miracle. Over 3500 other reports are being investigated as possible miracles. A second miracle must be confirmed before Bl. Teresa will be given the title of Saint.
In 2003, Mother Teresa’s private correspondence revealed she had experienced a “dark night of the soul”... feeling abandoned by God and lacking in faith. This lasted unusually long; for fifty years. Many saints have experienced such feelings, described by John of the Cross, in his book Dark Night of the Soul. She was filled with loneliness, and torture, due to this lack of consolation from God.
Each image in the list is accompanied by a quote of Mother Teresa. As we celebrate the feast day of Bl.Teresa of Calcutta on Sept. 5, let’s remember the remarkable things she did and said.