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Inspiring minds: Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was, and still remains, an inspiration for one and all. If one word were needed to describe her, it would surely be – love. Her divinity and angelic soul were devoted to the destitute and the helpless. Her service and selflessness towards her fellow human beings earned her names, ‘Saint of the gutter’ and ‘Angel of mercy’. She was the living embodiment of the word ‘compassion’.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. She was the daughter of a successful merchant and his wife. She was their third and youngest child. Until the age of 18, she had not seriously thought of becoming a nun. However, she had always been inclined towards spirituality. At a tender age of 12, she already felt that God was calling out to her and she was to be ‘The one’ to spread the message of the love of Christ.

Finally, at the age of 18, she left home when she realized her true calling and joined the sisters of Lorento. They were an Irish colony of nuns who had teaching missions in India. She taught in St. Mary’s school for several years and it was here that she chose the name sister Mary Teresa for herself, after the saints, Teresa of Avila and Therese de Lisieux. She even became the principal of St. Mary’s in the year 1944.

On August 17, 1948 she dedicated her life to the aid of others and started a religious community, and often said, “Give till it hurts.” She eagerly sought out not only the hungry, the homeless, the suffering and the dying, but also went so far as to feed, house, heal and restore the dignity of the unwanted, the unloved and the uncared-for in society. She unabashedly embraced all those people who had become a burden on society, and were shunned by everyone. She was the last refuge for those suffering from leprosy, HIV and Aids. She was a vocal advocate for the anti-abortion campaign, and is known to have called it the ‘Greatest destroyer of peace’.

She used to dress neatly in a blue – bordered white sari which has become a symbol of her order today, she would travel across Kolkata to help all those who needed her – lepers left to die by everyone around them, helpless women, and even abandoned babies with umbilical cords still attached to them. Shocking as it may seem it was all very true.

She looked at the poor as if God was seeing them, and loved them as God would love them. She saw her God in serving them. She always gave top priority to prayer; as she believed that God put the love in her heart that she was to give to the poor. People who knew her closely were awestruck by her devotion towards a prayerful life.

On September 5, 1997, she left for her heavenly abode. It was a huge loss for the world. Many people have since claimed that heaven has gained another star. Needles to say, mother Teresa was a living saint. Her secret was very simple; she prayed. When she was alive, she touched the hearts of millions. Her passing away has forever left a void in this world.

Mother Teresa, the mother of all, still lives in our hearts and will live forever.