Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa  (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997) was Catholic missionary nun / charity worker. She was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu Albanian also known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa was born in Skopje (modern Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet  in the Ottoman Empire. After having lived in Macedonia for eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. She was a Roman Catholic nun, who devoted her life to serving the unfortunate and impoverished around the world.

She spent many years in Calcutta, India where she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation devoted to helping those in great need. Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had over 4,000 sisters, and an associated brotherhood of 300 members, operating 610 missions in 123 countries. These included hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, personal helpers, orphanages and schools. The Missionaries of Charity were also aided by co-workers, who numbered over 1 million by the 1990s.In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and has become a symbol of charitable selfless work.

Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack in Rome in 1983 while visiting Pope John Paul II. After a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after having pneumonia while in Mexico, she suffered further heart problems. She offered to resign her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity, but the sisters of the congregation, in a secret ballot, voted for her to stay. Mother Teresa agreed to continue her work as head of the congregation.

In April 1996, Mother Teresa fell and broke her collar bone. In August she suffered from malaria and failure of the left heart ventricle. She had heart surgery but it was clear that her health was declining. The Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry Sebastian D’Souza, said he ordered a priest to perform an exorcism on Mother Teresa with her permission when she was first hospitalized with cardiac problems because he thought she may be under attack by the devil.

On 13 March 1997, she stepped down from the head of Missionaries of Charity. She died on 5 September 1997. She was beatified in 2003, the first step on the path to sainthood, within the Catholic Church.

 

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