Saints Saint Teresa of Calcutta

In the constellation of Catholic saints, one star shines with a distinct brightness - Saint Teresa of Calcutta -- who is still commonly referred to as Mother Teresa. Born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in 1910 in present-day North Macedonia, Mother Teresa answered the call to religious life at a young age, driven by an irresistible desire to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Upon joining the Sisters of Loreto, she was assigned to teach in India, where she encountered the harsh realities of poverty, disease, and death. It was here that she received her “call within a call” during a train journey to Darjeeling in 1946. She felt an intense inner prompting from God to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.

Obeying this divine call, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Starting with a small band of sisters, the congregation expanded globally over the decades. Their mission was simple yet profound: to satiate the infinite thirst of Jesus Christ on the Cross for love and souls by laboring for the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.

The sisters took vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and a unique fourth vow - to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.” They worked in slums, leper colonies, orphanages, and nursing homes, serving those on the fringes of society, providing comfort, love, and dignity.

Yet, Mother Teresa's journey was not without challenges. In her private writings, we learn about her “dark night of the soul,” a period of spiritual dryness where she experienced feelings of separation from God. Despite this intense inner struggle, she persevered, demonstrating the depths of her faith.

Mother Teresa was recognized globally for her humanitarian work, receiving numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. However, she remained indifferent to these honors. For her, the real reward was in serving Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.

Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa in 2003, and she was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta by Pope Francis in 2016. Her canonization does not imply that she was a perfect person but reminds us that saints are ordinary individuals who, with God’s grace, do extraordinary things.

Mother Teresa's life was a living testament to the Gospel, particularly Jesus' words, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40). She showed the world that holiness is not an unattainable ideal, but a path that anyone can walk by loving God and serving their neighbor.

In our time, when indifference and inequality abound, Mother Teresa's example of love and service to the poorest of the poor shines as a beacon of hope. Her legacy invites us to act with compassion and to see and serve Christ in all, especially those most in need. As we strive to live our faith in the world, may we carry her words in our hearts: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

Saint Teresa of Calcutta's Feast Day is September 5th.

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