Peace begins with a smile, she had said. She touched our lives, and even today she continues to live as a symbol of humility and sacrifice. Truly, mother Teresa was an angel incarnate.
August 26, 2014 marked the 104th Birth date of Mother Teresa. To commemorate this day, an exclusive mass was held in her name at the Missionaries of charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation in Kolkata which Mother Teresa had established in 1950. The place also holds the tomb of Mother Teresa, before which visitors made their prayers that day.
Born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in 1910 in Bonn, Germany, Mother Teresa realized very early in life that she wanted to commit to a religious life. At the mere age of 17, while most people her age were occupied with friends and family life, Mother Teresa took the difficult decision to give up her material being and become a nun. Not only did that mean sacrificing the novelty of marrying and bearing children, but it also meant that she would have to give up all worldly pleasures.
Mother Teresa was very fascinated with the kind of lives lived by missionaries in India. She would hear tales of their services which took her closer to resolve that she would dedicate her life to the service of the poor and the diseased, later growing to become a beacon of hope for these deprived people. Led by her compassion, Mother Teresa came to India at the age of 19. Her stay in India led her to experience, what was called, “the call within a call” whereby she felt the need to live among the poor and alleviate their distress.
In India, she had served the Missionary convent as the principal and after much deliberation and protests over her resignation, she finally managed to leave the convent and work with the underprivileged, following the “call”.
Her compassion knew no bounds. Selflessly, she worked on, day and night, feeling their pain like it was her own. She became the hope to many, not only in India, but across the globe. She won numerous awards including the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. In India, she became the recipient of the Padma Shree in 1962 and was also bestowed with the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna in 1980.
We remember her, even today, as a messiah of the poor. A woman, who without resources and without support, took on to the problems of those suffering on shoulders of her won. She loved freely and she gave freely.
Mother Teresa had said, “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.” Coming together in all of these identities, Mother Teresa truly was, and continues to live as, a light of hope to the world.
As we pay a tribute to the deeply wonderful and compassionate life of resonance that Mother Teresa had, let’s hope we too can etch her words in our hearts:
“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
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