Her father died when she was eight years old. Her mother, a pious, compassionate Albanian woman, invited the poor to dine with them. She told her daughter, “Never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.” When the girl asked who these people were, her mother answered, “Some of them are our relations, but all of them are our people.”
At age 12, her school made a pilgrimage to the Church of the Black Madonna, and she felt a calling to be a nun. She studied in Ireland, and then went to India where she was assigned to teach at a Catholic school for Calcutta’s poorest families. She taught history and geography but also by example. She once described how she prayed: “Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them at last to you.”
In 1946, at the age of 36, on a train ride to a retreat, Christ spoke to her. He asked her to leave the school and teaching and devote her life to the poor and sick. She obeyed.
The Light She Found
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) founded the Missionaries of Charity and served the sick and poor by establishing hospices; homes for the blind, disabled, and aged; a leper colony; and 610 foundations in 123 countries. She received many honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.
What she said:
“Like Jesus, we belong to the world not living for ourselves but for others. The joy of the Lord is our strength.”
“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”
“Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.”
“Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”
“Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family.”
“God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.”