A Transformational and Servant Leader: Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Topics: Mother Teresa, Christopher Hitchens, Missionaries of Charity Pages: 9 (3628 words) Published: March 2, 2011
“Today, perhaps no figure has come to symbolize undiluted goodness, piety, and compassion more than the small, elderly Albanian nun Agnes Bojaxhiu—known to millions as Mother Teresa” (Fosl, 1999, p. 115). Mother Teresa is among the most fascinating and extremely respected women of the twentieth century. She was a woman who saved lives and changed them through the absolute force of her faith and determination. Mother Teresa was devoted to be loved in action on earth. Mother Teresa was born Agnes Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910 in Uskub, in the Kosovo Providence of the Ottoman Empire, which is now known as the city of Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia. Her parents were originally from Albania and were Roman Catholic. Her father was a shop owner and they lived in a large house with a large garden. Mother Teresa was the youngest of three children having an older brother and an older sister. It was very known that Mother Teresa’s family was a happy home, were very caring people and never turned away anyone in need for help. It is said that during her early years, Agnes was fascinated by stories of missionaries and what they did for the community. By the age of 12 years of age she was completely convinced that she was called to commit herself to the Catholic Church and to live a religious life. At the age of 18, Agnes left her home and joined the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She never saw any of her family members again. She originally joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland to learn English because that was the language they used to teach at the Sisters of Loreto in India. The Sisters of Loreto was founded by an English woman named Mary Ward. Mary Ward was a woman who desired to be “Wholly God's" and who believed that women like men could serve the Church equally well anywhere in the world and use their giftedness to bring the Gospel of Jesus to those in greatest need. Mother Teresa believed in that mission and after learning English, left to the city of Darjeeling India to begin her work. She took her first vows as a nun on May 24, 1931 and chose the name Teresa after the patron saint of missionaries. She then took the solemn vows in May 14, 1937. At the time she was serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta in India. Mother Teresa loved teaching at Loreto Convent School but she was beginning to feel disturbed more and more every day at the rising amount of poverty that was plaguing the city around her. In 1943 a famine hit the city hard and because of it many people died. Also, there was an increase of Hindu/Muslim violence in the city that made it a city full of depression and dismay. Mother Teresa would pray every chance she got for the city and what she was to do about it. On September 10, 1946, while traveling to the Loreto Convent in Darjelling for an annual retreat, she felt a tugging inside of her. She describes is as a “call within a call”. She says that the spirit told her that she was to leave the convent and “help the poor while living among them”. She treated it as a direct order from God saying that “to fail would have been to break her faith”. She began her missionary work in 1948 by venturing out into the slums and tending to the needs of the impoverished and starving. Her good works gained the attention of many quickly and even the Prime Minister at the time came to her to express his appreciation. When Mother Teresa first began her venture she was having a difficult time adjusting. She was herself very poor and had to beg for food and supplies for her work with the poor and even herself. During her first year she claimed to experience doubt of her calling, loneliness and temptation to return to a comfortable life at the convent. This caused a controversy that Mother Teresa, who could not force herself into accepting the simplistic answer of 'faith', is that of a fairly simple woman struggling to be honest with herself, while also being an example to others. It was...
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