Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born August 26, 1910 in Skopje, in Macedonia. Her childhood was comfortable and prosperous due to her father's success. Her father encouraged his children to be generous and compassionate to those less fortunate. Her mother was very religious and she took the children to morning mass. Agnes often helped her mother deliver parcels of food and money to the poor and prayed with the whole family every evening. The family's life changed dramatically after their father's death, when Agnes was 9. Although now poor themselves, they continued to help those less fortunate. Christianity became increasingly important in Agnes' life. From the age of 12, she was aware of a desire to devote her life to God. As Agnes thought about what she could do for Christ, she started to feel a call for God. In the two years she decided to become a nun. Agnes spent longer periods of time going on retreats and received guidance from her Father Confessor. At the age of 17, she made the decision to become a nun, because she had been taught that chastity is a special and pure grace. This was an important moment for Agnes as she chose a life of self-sacrifice.
Agnes was just 18 when she decided to join the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto, who were very active in India. On December 1, 1928 the crossing to India started. In the beginning of 1929 they reached Colombo, then Madres and finally Calcutta. The journey continued to Darjeeling, where she completed her training. Agnes was trained in prayer, scriptures, theology, and the spirituality and history of her Order. She started to learn Hindi and Bengali and to improve her English. She taught at the local school and worked in a small medical station. On May 24, 1931, Agnes took her first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a sister of Loreto. She chose her name in religious life as St. Theresa of Lisieux. Soon after she went to Calcutta to begin her teaching career. She went to Loreto and for the next 19 years she lived the life of a Loreto nun and an educator of girls in a form of semi-enclosure. Her main subject was geography until she became head mistress. Whenever she left the compound to teach at another school, she would see the slums. Calcutta was a deeply troubled city due to famine, floods and cyclones, which destroyed harvests and the number of beggars in search of food greatly increased. Sister Teresa's Order demanded her not to go outside and get involved. Sister Teresa's decision to reject a life of teaching was extremely significant. She describes this as a "call within a call." She was sure it was God's voice telling her to leave the convent to help the poor by living with them.
Sister Teresa now 38 went to stay with the Medical Mission Sisters in Pantra to learn some basic nursing skills. She only spent a few weeks there as she had been only given only a year to prove herself. In December she returned to Calcutta to start her own life and moved in with the Little Sisters of the Poor in the slums of Calcutta. Within weeks she was joined by her would be novices, mostly girls from the school where she was head mistress. By 1949, Mother Teresa was granted Indian citizenship. After a 1-year trial, she applied to Rome to form a new congregation. They were called the "Missionaries of Charity." They worked for Christ, first, and above all and they gave themselves wholeheartedly with free service to the poorest of the poor. On October 7, 1950, Pope Pius XII approved the foundation of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. As more Sisters joined, they realized the need for a bigger Mother House, which they found at 54A Lower Circular Road. Shortly after this they started a home for dying destitutes, which were often left on the street, because of overcrowded hospitals. Mother Teresa and her lepers brought them back to die with dignity. At the centre of her work, was a total belief in God, whom she loved and trusted. In 1955,...
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