Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa)

by Veronique from San Diego

Mother Teresa (
Mother Teresa (

Children say Superman is a hero because he uses his super powers to save people’s lives. This type of heroism starts physically, from the external side of someone. However, Superman only saves because he has the strength to. If he didn’t have any supernatural powers, he might as well have been the helpless human being saved by the superhero. In reality, the only reason why he has the heart to save is because he has the strength to. On the other hand, there is another type of heroism: one that starts internally, from the heart. This hero sacrifices his or her own cause for another’s. Rather than having the heart to save due to strength, he or she would have the strength due to the heart. This hero’s motivation to reach his or her goal is driven by love, not strength. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu perfectly demonstrated this type of hero.

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, more commonly known as Saint of the Gutters, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Sister Mary Teresa, and later Mother Teresa, is a saint known for her work to help the poor and her strong faith in God. She defines herself: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910 in Uskub, Kosovo (now known as Skopje, Macedonia). At an early age of 12, she felt a strong calling from God to be a missionary to spread His love and to help the poor. Six years later, to answer God's call, she left home to train as a nun with the Sisters of Loreto (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in Dublin, Ireland. However, she felt that the students being taught there were already wealthy so in 1948, she left the school to work directly with the poor. Mother Teresa visited slums, which were areas of a city often largely inhabited by poor people. There, she healed the ill and brought education to the children. Over time, she gained support from people who also wanted to help out. On October 7th, 1950, the Missionaries of Charity was finally founded and it is the only religious order still active today. In 1952, the Charity took over an abandoned Hindu temple and converted it into a hospice for dying people to help bring hope and love to. Tourists who visited the hospice were awed at the love-saturated atmosphere and cleanliness of the area. Five years later, the Charity also began to work with lepers, and opened a home for abandoned children. In 1959, they began to expand to other Indian cities outside of Calcutta and, her impact on others did not just take effect in the places she visited, but all around the world. On September 5, 1997, Mother Teresa died of a heart attack. The world mourned for her loss with much recognition and grief. Eight days after her death, a state funeral was held for Mother Teresa, which was attended by many people of different origins. Her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity, where her tomb became a sanctuary for all people, no matter what religion. Even non-catholic people were inspired by her devotion to God and help for the poor. She will always be remembered as a hero in the hearts of the poor.

Mother Teresa strongly portrays a heroic character. She clearly doesn’t save to take triumph in herself, but really devoted herself to helping others. Whenever someone acknowledged her accomplishments, she modestly tried to push the spotlight away from herself. In April of 1997, someone requested to film the movie: “Mother Teresa: In the Name of God’s Poor”, documenting the works of Mother Teresa. However, when Mother Teresa viewed it, she humbly refused to let them air the movie. She also displayed her humbleness when she received awards, she did not receive them in pride for herself, but instead “for the glory of God and in the name of the poor” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center). She truly dedicated herself to Christ. Despite her dedication and accomplishments, she said that after her death, God would find a successor who was more humble and faithful than herself. Mother Teresa portrayed heroism in that she loved each individual and devoted her life to helping “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center). She says, “In these twenty years of work among these people, I have come more and more to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience” (Gale Virtual Reference Library). She really cared about the people she helped and wasn’t just trying to make herself look like a good person. As a motherly saint, she took care of those of God’s children who felt lost. The Sisters of Saint Teresa’s foundation, the Missionaries of Charity, opposed abortion and contraception. This shows that they truly care and view each and every individual as God’s precious children. In Mother Teresa’s late ages, she became deeply sick. However, she continued to try her best to help the poor. She unselfishly sacrificed her own needs for others.

Mother Teresa has deeply inspired people all over the world with her faithfulness and dedication to Christ and helping the poor. She portrayed this when she answered God’s call to build the Missionaries of Charity. By answering His call, she accepted to devote her life to Him. One of her goals was “to quench His thirst for love and for souls” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center). As a missionary, she spread the word and hope of God to people who felt lost. Even when she became ill, she overlooked her health: “God will take care of me” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center).

Page created on 2/13/2010 11:23:58 AM

Last edited 2/13/2010 11:23:58 AM

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Related Links

Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center - -- official site dedicated to Mother Teresa