Mother Teresa, Homecare and Hospice Nurse, Celebrates 99th Birthday
Caring Award Winners to be Announced on Oct. 13 at NAHC Annual Meeting in LA
August 27, 2009 01:00 AM
Citizens all over the world celebrated Mother Teresa's birthday yesterday, Aug.26, 1910. Mother founded a religious order called the Missionaries of Charity which she grew to a network of some 5,000 convents and schools. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the "poorest of the poor."
"Mother Teresa was the quintessential home care and hospice nurse. She was always positive and always tried to lift the spirits of others especially those who were in pain and sorrow," said National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) President Val J. Halamandaris.
When Halamandaris asked her what was the greatest lesson she had learned she replied, "Love God with all you heart and soul, love they neighbor as thyself and love the hole in your heart as much as your heart."
Since her death in 1997, Mother Teresa has been on the fast track of sainthood. Pope John Paul II presided over her beatification in October of 2003. This removed the final obstacle for her to be officially proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church.
Mother Teresa developed a long and deep friendship with Halamandaris. He first met her in 1985 when he presented a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of NAHC and its related Foundation for Hospice and Homecare. At that time she told Halamandaris that she was comfortable teaching English and other languages to well-to-do students in India from the protected walls of her convent. She received a call from God, she said, to create a religious order based on caring for the poor at whatever site they called home. She told Halamandaris that she got permission from the pope to create a new religious order, and then sought out Catholic nuns who were trained as nurses and asked them to train her.
"I then returned to Calcutta and opened my own hospice and home care agency. We are in the same business," she told Halamandaris.
According to Halamandaris, Mother Teresa said that there is a "poverty of the spirit in the U.S. and the western world that is far worse then the poverty of the body that is seen in the third world.”
"Do something about it," she stressed, and directed Halamandaris to use "the power of caring, the one word summary of the Golden Rule" and the "most powerful force in the universe." She said that "caring is love in action."
This conversation inspired the creation of the Caring Institute, a separate non-profit organization supported by NAHC and others which searches for and names the five most caring adults and five most caring young people in America. Former Sen. Bob Dole, chairman of the Board of Trustees recently announced that this year's award winners would be named at an award ceremony held in conjunction with the NAHC Annual meeting in Los Angeles, California on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. Winners are inducted into The Hall of Fame for Caring Americans, located three blocks east of the U.S. Capitol.
Former Congressman Mel Levine, Chairman of the Caring Institute Board of Directors announced that the Institute will host centennial birthday celebrations throughout 2010 in honor of Mother Teresa.