Celebrating Mother Teresa’s Birthday
August 27, 2015 09:55 AM
"There is joy in transcending self to serve others." -Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is celebrating the birthday of Mother Theresa, who was born on August 26th, 1910. In 1997, she passed away at the age of 87.
Mother Teresa knew when she was a small girl in Albania that she wanted to become a Roman Catholic nun and serve the poor when she grew up. Her dreams were realized in 1928 when she joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto and was assigned to a convent in Calcutta. There she taught students geography, history and languages for several years.
In 1946, while returning by train from a retreat in Darjeeling she received a vision from God. It directed her to set up a religious order, offering unconditional love to the poorest of the poor. Mother says she was directed to seek out ill and needy people wherever they called home even if this was a gutter in Calcutta. She asked permission from church authorities to create a new order and was given an affirmative response. This was the beginning of the Missionaries of Charity which have grown from one to more than 4,500 sisters located in 133 countries across the globe.
Mother described her vision as follows: “My community is the poor. Their society is my own. Their heart is my own. My house is the house of the poor—not just the poor but the poorest of the poor; those who are so dirty and full of germs that no one wants to come near them; those who do not go to pray because they are naked; those who do not eat because they do not have the strength; those who collapse on the sidewalks knowing they are about to die while the living walk by without even looking back; those who do not cry because they have no tears left.”
Mother said the worst form of poverty is feeling unloved. She and her sisters made it their mission to give unconditional love to each and every person—to see the face of Jesus in every person that they meet. “Let no one come to us without feeling happy or better,” she instructed her sisters. “Let them see the kindness in your face, in your eyes, and in your friendly greeting. Let us be of one heart, all love.”
In June of 1985, Mother helped provide the impetus for the creation of the Caring Institute. “Caring” she said was the one word summary of the Golden Rule which runs through all the great religions of the world. “It is love in action.” Mother Teresa by the manner in which she led her life became an icon, the very personification of caring. Through her life’s example, Mother became the ultimate hero and role model for millions of people. She was honored with numerous awards from the Nobel Peace Prize to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but her greatest joy came from honoring God by loving those society labeled unlovable.