Mother Teresa was born on 27th August, 1910, in Yugoslovia. Then she was called Agnes. Recently, on 27th August, 1995, her 85th birthday was observed by thousands of people in India and abroad. People, from all walks of life, prayed for her long life, health, happiness, and sent her hearty greetings. For her long and outstanding, selfless and dedicated service to the poor, diseased, destitute, orphans, homeless and handicapped men, women and children, she has been heaped upon with many national and international awards, honours and coveted prizes. She received the Bharat Ratna Award in 1980, and a year before it she was conferred upon the Nobel Peace Prize, the highest award of the world which is really worthy of a Rishi and saviour. She very politely said, “I am not worthy of it. I accept the award in the name of the poor, because I believe, by giving me the prize, they have recognized the presence of the poor in the world.” These honours are too many to count here. But she was far above these, they can’t touch her.
She was the true manifestation of God and all his virtues like kindness, devotion, service, love, forgiveness etc. She has been a living angel all the years to the suffering humanity at large. She has identified herself completely with the poor, the homeless, the diseased, the dying and the helpless. Her compassion knows no distinction, no boundaries. She is the universal Mother in the true sense of the term. Her Missionaries of Charity have branches all over the world. Her selfless service and dedication to the poor is now recognized throughout the world.
She came to India as a Loreto Nun in 1929 and decided to work in Culcutta. She started her work as a teacher in St.Mary’s School there. Soon she became very popular among her students for her love, learning, compassion and devotion to the cause of education of the young. It was in 1931 that she came to be called ‘Teresa’. Consequently, she became the principal of the school, but ultimately she resigned from the post and plunged herself to serve the whole suffering humanity. The school was too small a place for her all-encompassing love and compassion. She was a devout Christian, but the teachings of Shree Ramakrishna and Mahatma Gandhi have been a great influence on her life and missionary career.
In the beginning she was all alone, resourceless and homeless. Moreover, many so-called religious leaders and social reformers turned hostile to her work and life. They even threatened her, but she was neither afraid nor did resist them. Her firm but polite pleadings changed their misconduct into respect for her. She was all love and compassion, and believes in loving even one’s worst enemy. Actually, she had no enemy. All her activities and life have been inspired by a vision of humanity living in peace, harmony, freedom and love. She has done a lot to improve the quality of life of the poor, and the weaker of weakest sections of the society. She has championed their cause in a manner as no other person can do. She was a reality, a historic figure and yet seemed so remote, so ideal, so angelic and exemplary to be believed.
How we wish there are a few more mothers like Mother Teresa. But the best was one and the only one. Can there be two or more Everest peaks? The whole word in general and India in particular were very proud of her. Her very presence inspires people with firm faith in humanity. Her living and vibrant spirit of love and compassion was really infectious.