Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhin (Later Mother Teresa) was born to Albanian parents in Yugoslavia on 27thAugust 1910. At the age of 18 she became a Sister of Loreto. She came to India in 1928 and started her novitiate (a beginner becoming a nun) in Darjeeling, a hill station in West Bengal.
Mother Teresa became a teacher at St. Mary’s High School in Kolkata in 1929. Soon she became the principal of the school. In 1931 she adopted the name Teresa. In 1946 Teresa felt an inner urge to start a new experiment to serve humanity. So in 1948 she obtained the Pope’s permission to leave the convent. With only five rupees in hand she went into the streets of Kolkata to work for the poor and the needy. She lovingly collected some slum children, washed them and began to teach them under a tree.
Teresa took Indian citizen in 1948. She then opened a first home and first school in Kolkata for slum children. She also adopted Indian dress, and clothed herself in sari. Mother Teresa started the Order of the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Its members are dedicated to free service to the poor. They look after the unwanted, the abandoned and the unloved. They also run many children homes to care for the sick, retarded and orphaned children. These Sisters work also among the drug addicts, alcoholics and destitute in many countries. In 1957 Mother Teresa opened a home for lepers in Kolkata.
Mother Teresa set up nearly 570 homes for the poor, spread in over 125 countries both in the West and the East. Mother Teresa was honored with numerous titles and awards. These includes the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979, Magsaysay Award (The Philippines), Templeton Award (Britain), and India’s highest Civilian Award, Bharat Ratna. They meant little to her. She was a woman of God who practiced love in action.