These were my favorite passages from her biography.
“What an individual could do to promote peace in the world. The woman quickly answered: “Go home and love your family.”
“whatever one had was never so scarce that it could not be divided and shared with another in need. As Drana told the young Agnes, “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”
“According to the caste system, people were divided into groups, including Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Each group served a different role in society. Brahmins were known as the priestly caste, Kshatriayas were the warriors, Vaishyas were merchants and landowners, and Shudras were the servant class. Group membership was inherited according to birth, and divisions between the groups, even those involving such basic social interactions as interactions in a shop or a nod on the street, were strictly maintained. Each group also possessed differing amounts of social, political, and economic capital, and as a result, they were organized hierarchically, with some groups having much more power than others.”
“Sister Teresa had already seen the unnecessary and overwhelmingly negative effects that these types of arbitrary social divisions had caused in her homeland. Indeed, her short life had been filled with the kind of violence to which these types of divisions so often give way. However, thanks to the lessons she had learned from her mother and the family dinners they used to have back in Skopje, Sister Teresa would not be persuaded by, or content with, such divisions. She devoutly knew that all people were her people; all people were one in God. There was surely some way in which she could serve those who most needed her.”
“She expected much of her students but also showed them endless love. Over the years, she affected many devoted young girls who would later, as women, become her followers.”
“Known today as the “Great Calcutta Killings,” riots between Muslims and Hindus erupted throughout the city. Three days later, 4,000 people had been killed, and over 100,000 people had been left homeless.”
“While they were on this train ride, Christ came to Mother Teresa and spoke to her. He told her that he no longer wanted her to teach; he wanted her to leave the confines of her school to go into the slums and work with the poorest and sickest of India. Later, Mother Teresa would call this day her “Day of Inspiration,” the day that God called her for a second time.
“For example, the colonial system benefited from the maintenance of the caste system because it offered the British government a way to order and control the population. This meant that the British government did not actively address the plight of the untouchables of India, those individuals excluded from the caste system entirely and barred from basic contact with the rest of society.”
“He asked her to keep a diary, documenting not only her successes and failures in the community but also her own personal struggles and achievements. Mother Teresa would go on to keep a diary for much of the rest of her life, and its contents, including her documentation of her deep and sometimes complicated relationship with God, would be revealed to the world only after her death.”
“She thereby learned the basic nursing skills that were so desperately needed, yet so lacking, amongst the poor and untouchable classes. After six months, she went back to Calcutta and entered the slums.”
“She would have to be innovative and creative because there was no model for her to follow. The people whom she wanted to help were the very people forgotten by the established colonial systems, whether those systems be governmental or religious. The first change that she made was to live with the people whom she intended to serve. She did not construct a wall around herself or divide herself from the people she so desperately wanted to serve, as had been the case with the compound of schools operated by the Sisters of Loreto; rather, she moved into the slums with the people. She ate, slept, and passed her days with them. For Mother Teresa, there would never again be a division, physical or otherwise, between her and other people—between her and her neighbors.”
“Moreover, its simplicity ensured that she met the poor as their equal, down to the very fabric she wore.”
“This was an extremely significant moment for Mother Teresa. Most importantly, she was no longer a single individual acting upon Jesus’ calling; now she was the leader of a small but growing religious community that was the embodiment of this calling. Her growing community was also a tangible mark of her success. Practically speaking, this was crucial if she was to fulfill the archbishop’s command to prove herself within a year. This success ensured that she and her vision would retain the support of the Church. 1949 was a significant year for Mother Teresa in another way as well, for it was in this year that she applied for and received her Indian citizenship. In doing so, she had completely re-envisioned who she saw as her “people,” thanks in large part to the lessons of her mother. It had not been enough to live with, dress like, and work amongst the poor; now she shared her national allegiance with them as well.”
“Around this time, Mother Teresa’s work began to come to the attention of the Indian press, and several articles were written about her good deeds. These articles earned her many devoted admirers, and those with the means began to donate to the Sisters of Charity. Mother Teresa immediately used these increased funds to open more homes and clinics. Her impact on the poor of India was beginning to increase rapidly.”
“She spoke straight from the heart and without notes. Although many had known of her before this time, this speech certainly thrust her into the spotlight for Catholics in America.”
“Here we find yet more evidence of Mother Teresa’s exceptional political sensibility, inherited from her father, and a prime example of the way she used this gift to do the will of God and serve her people—that is, the people of the world.”
“She used this trip as the opportunity to open up yet another chapter of her life and find another means by which she might serve the living Christ and cater to the poorest of the poor.”
“Mother Teresa’s service to God. Indeed, the publicity and connections that she was able to generate during this trip would, in many ways, be just as important as her audience with the pope had been.”
“True, it was only the first of many awards to come for Mother Teresa; however, this award, given at the time that it was, is perhaps particularly symbolic. For one thing, it seems quite fitting that she be recognized by her adopted country. The award recognized the work that she had been doing not only in India but also throughout the world. In this way, the award serves as a tangible marker of the monumental transition taking place in her life. It is almost as if, by awarding her an international award, India was recognizing that she was no longer theirs alone; they realized that, now and in the future, they would be sharing her with all peoples and nations.”
“Missionaries could no longer maintain a separation from those they served, for this was increasingly seen as maintaining outdated colonial habits and, furthermore, often overlooked those who had been excluded from those systems and left most in need. Now, thanks to Mother Teresa, missionaries would go to the people and become one with them. Mother Teresa’s rapid international growth pointed overwhelmingly to the success of this new approach.”
“It was a risk, nonetheless, but a risk worth taking. Never losing sight of the political and organizational needs of her (now international) religious community, this interview, if successful, would be exactly the type of publicity that the Sisters of Charity needed. The more the world heard of their good deeds, the more missions and services they would be able to open and maintain.”
“Muggeridge was greatly moved by Mother Teresa’s simple yet profound message of love. He found himself thinking repeatedly about the things she had said to him during their interview. As a result, Muggeridge entered into a crisis of faith, if one can apply such a term to a dedicated atheist. He even began to explore the Christianity that he had condemned for so long. In 1969, he began practicing the faith and wrote a book about his experience, entitled Jesus Rediscovered. The interview had not only affected Muggeridge but had impacted his BBC viewers as well. Funds began pouring in to the Sisters of Charity, despite the fact that Mother Teresa never asked for money during the interview. Instead, people simply understood the great work that she was doing and wanted to find some way to support her. Clearly, Mother Teresa’s new approach to missionary work was speaking to people. As the Sisters continued to grow internationally, this type of publicity and support would become an increasingly important component of their work.”
“By 1975, thanks to the incredible increase in donations initiated by Mother Teresa’s ever-growing prominence and popularity, the Sisters of Charity had been able to open 32 homes for the dying, 67 colonies for lepers, and 28 children’s homes in locations around the world. What could Mother Teresa hope to achieve next?”
“Upon learning of her selection for the award, Mother Teresa told reporters in India, “I accept the prize in the name of the poor … The prize is the recognition of the poor world … By serving the poor I am serving Him.” She went to Oslo to accept the prize. She asked that the extravagant banquet traditionally held in honor of the recipient be canceled and requested that all expenses be donated to the poor.”
“Council for Catholic Women, and again in her interview with Muggeridge, she spoke simply and from the heart. Speaking of love, that seemingly simple yet profound commandment, she explained: “It is not enough for us to say: I love God, but I do not love my neighbor. St. John says you are a liar if you say you love God and you don’t love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live?”
“This incident was also exemplary of the extent to which Mother Teresa believed that love could reach. As she had said at the UN, it was not enough to love God abstractly; one must show this love by caring for one’s neighbor. And who were Mother Teresa’s neighbors? As we have seen, her understanding of who “her people” were had continually evolved. However, by 1982, as an international figure and Nobel Prize Winner, it was clear that the whole world was Mother Teresa’s neighbor. If individuals were in danger or pain, Mother Teresa too felt this pain and was compelled to do something to ameliorate it, even if that meant risking her own life by walking into an active war zone and standing up to world powers. Indeed, Mother Teresa’s love knew no bounds.”
“One might argue that Mother Teresa had never really lost the political tenacity on which her father had taught her to rely. This was obvious throughout Mother Teresa’s life, beginning with the way in which she was able to navigate the Indian government in order to find funding for her first schools.”
“In Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa finally found someone who could fill her shoes. Sister Nirmala had the political smarts necessary to run a worldwide organization, but she also had the religious background and conviction to ensure that this political work was always carried out in the name of love of God and the suffering Christ.”
“Today, many travel to this site to pay tribute to her and her work as well as to be inspired to continue that work themselves.”
“and she became a beacon of peace throughout the world. Finally, she became an emblem of peace herself, traveling around the world and using her presence to draw attention to disasters throughout the world and the victims they produced. And yet, Mother Teresa was only human. We ought not think that she did not face any struggles of her own throughout her life. This became most apparent when, in 2003, three of her private correspondences were published, including the journals she was first asked to keep by the archbishop of Calcutta and had done so throughout her life. In these journals, one finds the intimate musings of a woman who suffered a crisis of faith, indeed for practically the last 50 years of her life. Faced with so much death and destruction, she often questioned God’s plan for the world and whether He had forsaken it.”
“However, as her journals reveal, this was not the case. She confronted the same fears and uncertainties as anyone else does, at least at some point in their life.”
Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.
Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.
He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.