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May 22, 2017

Essays for IBPS PO 2017 : Mother Teresa - Symbol of Peace and Humanity

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Mother Teresa - Symbol of Peace and Humanity

  • Childhood and early life of Mother Teresa.
  • Came to India and began work for the poor and helpless.
  • Founded the missionaries of charity in Kolkata.
  • Founder Nirmal Hriday, Leprosy Ashram, Shishu Bhavan.
  • Expansion of her work all over the world. 
  • Won many national and international awards, including Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Died in 1997 due to prologed illness, 
  • She was declared as saint by Pope Francis on 4th September. 2016.
The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day-to-day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them!' 
Mother Teresa
'Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu' widely known as 'Mother Teresa' was horn in a middle class Albanian family in Skopje, then Yugoslavia, on 26th August, 1910. As a child she was called Gonxha. Her father, a businessman and a member of the community council, died when she was only nine years old. Her mother, Drana, raised Gonxha and her siblings, Aga and Lazar, alone. Drana Bojaxhiu earned a living by sewing, and was very conscientious about the religious education of her children. She belonged to devoted Roman Catholic family. 

Agnes attended a convent-run primary school and then a state-run secondary school. At the age of 12 she first felt a calling to a religious life. Then she gave up all and followed Christ into the slums to serve him among the poor yet the kindest people. The children were taught to treat the poor and needy who came to knock at their door with respect and to practice charitable ways. On holidays, the family made pilgrimages to Letnice, where the Holy Virgin was venerated. Gonxha attended the lyceum, where she sang in the choir and played the mandolin.

After completion of school education Agnes became a nun at the age of 18. Her name was changed to Teresa. She joined the community of Irish nuns, the sisters of Loretto, who were active in India. This community had a centre in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Teresa received training in Dublin, Ireland. There she learned to speak English and began her formal religious training. Later she came to Darjeeling. She took first religious vows in 1928 and finally in 1937. Mother Teresa came to India as a teacher at St Mary's High School at Entally, Calcutta. She spent the next 17 years teaching at St Mary's High School in Kolkata. She realised that her fight would have to be against poverty, disease and ignorance. She herself began to work for the poor and helpless. 

Teresa went to the slums regularly with food and medicine and started to teach the slum children. In 1948 she acquired Indian citizenship. The very same year she founded the order of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta and established the Mother House on Acharva Jagadish Bose Road, Calcutta. It is the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity now also. In 1950, the Missionaries of Charity got official status as a religious community in 1950. 

Mother founded, 'the Kalighat Home for the Dying' (Nirmal Hriday). "They lived like animals," she said, "At least they can die like human beings." Mother Teresa soon extended her work to helping India's lepers. In 1957 the Missionaries started to work for lepers. She opened a Leprosy Ashram at Titagarh. They opened a home for the orphan and abandoned children. She founded `Shishu Bhavan' for the helpless children. 

In the ensuing decades, wherever, people needed comfort she was there, whether it was the serving the hungry in Ethiopia, radiation victims of Chernobyl, or the poor in the squalid townships of South Africa. In 1982, at the height of the siege of Beirut, she persuaded the Israeli army and Palestinian Guerrillas to stop shooting long enough for her to rescue 37 children trapped in a front-line hospital. 

She created a global network of homes for the poor from Kolkata to New York including one of the first homes helping and sheltering the AIDS victims. She expanded her work by establishing 750 centres in 250 countries. In 1970 she opened branches in Jordan (Amman), England (London) and the United States (Harlem, New York city). In 1971, she opened a home for Rape victims in Bangladesh. In 1988 she sent her Missionaries of Charity to Russia. The Missionaries of Charity opened home for AIDS patients in San Francisco and other places. 

Mother Teresa used her powerful voice to champion conservative values, arguing passionately against abortion, contraception and divorce. Her fame gave her a platform, and she preached values of life. She won many national and international awards for her humanly works. In 1962, Indian Government awarded her the Padmashree (`Magnificent Lotus') Award. The same year she got the Ramon Magsaysay Award instituted by the Malaysian Government. In 1971, she was awarded the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize and the Bharat Ratna the highest civilian award in India, in 1980.

But, the worldwide recognition for her work came in 1979, when she was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize. Accepting the Nobel Prize in 1979, in the name of the 'unwanted, unloved and uncared for,' she wore the same $ 1 White Sari that she had adopted to identify herself with the poor when she founded her order. 

"I choose the poverty of our poor people. But, I am grateful to receive it (the Noble) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone," said Teresa while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. 

Mother Teresa suffered her first heart attack while meeting Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1983, and a second nearly fatal in 1989, after which a pacemaker was installed in her body. Her health took a marked turn for the worse in the beginning of September 1996 and died on 5th September, 1997, at the age of 87, having lived a life that inspired people the world over, believers and non-believers, rich and poor, the unknown and the famed alike. 

On 9th October, 2003, Mother Teresa, the humble nun known as the `Saint of the Gutters', was declared beatified by Pope John Paul II and there by bestowing on her the title 'Blessed'. The Vatican scheduled 4th September, 2016 as the canonisation date for Mother Teresa as a Saint. Mother Teresa was canonised into saint Teresa at the Vatican City by Pope Francis on 4th September 2016. 

It is declared that "For the honour of the Blessed Trinity   we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calculta (Kolkata) to he a saint and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole Church." Physically she is no more with us, but her spirit of love, service, charity and compassion is always there to guide and help us. Really, she became a role model of charity, compassion, holiness and selfless service. 

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Siblings a person's brother or sister
  • Conscientious painstaking, scrupulous
  • Venerated regard with great respect
  • Squalid very dirty and unpleasant
  • Persuaded induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument
  • Contraception birth control by the use of contraceptive devices
  • Crippled disabled
  • Shunned banished
  • Fatal causing death
  • Pacemaker a small electrical device put inside a person to make the heart beat evenly
  • Beatified blessed
  • Bestowing to give (something) as a gift or honour
  • Canonisation the act of admitting a deceased person into the canon of saints.
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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