*We highlight these Saints to inspire our students and contribute to their growth in Catholic education by fostering understanding and appreciation for Catholic values and teachings. We encourage parents to share the stories of these Saints with their children to deepen their spirituality and motivate them to live their faith with conviction, following the examples of these admired role models.*
Many of us have heard of the incredible Mother Teresa, but do you know her story? Not only is it a source of inspiration for us all, but it’s an incredible journey of a woman who listened to her calling from the Lord and dedicated her life to serving the most vulnerable.
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, with the name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She received her first communion at the age of 5 and was confirmed at 6. Tragedy struck early in her life as her father passed away when she was just 8 years old. Despite this loss, she remained deeply connected to her faith throughout her childhood. She actively engaged at the Jesuit Parish of the Sacred Heart and even sang in the choir. Early on, her devotion to God remained steadfast, even through challenges.
At the age of 18, she left home to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly recognized as the Sisters of Loreto. There, she taught at the St. Mary’s School for girls in Calcutta. Her early missionary works there are why she is also referred to as St. Teresa of Calcutta. Over time, her commitment to her calling deepened, and on May 24, 1937, she solidified her devotion by taking her final vows. From that moment forward, she was recognized as Mother Teresa, a name that would become synonymous with her tireless compassion and unwavering service to those in need.
Eventually, Mother Teresa became the school’s principal and taught there for 20 years. Her remarkable work ethic became legendary, characterized by an unwavering commitment and a resolute joy that exemplified her sincere devotion to Jesus, whom she regarded as both her spouse and her source of inspiration.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.St. Mother Teresa
On September 10, 1946, while she was on a train ride to the Sister’s annual retreat, she experienced “her call within her call” to serve the poorest of the poor. Following this, Mother Teresa received various visions where Jesus revealed and showed her the need for her to serve the most vulnerable. After two years of prayer and discernment, on August 17, 1948, she left the convent to pursue her calling. In the slums, Mother Teresa cared for the sick and dying. She tended to wounds, illnesses, and ultimately helped those who were unwanted and unloved by society.
With time, Mother Teresa received the help of fellow sisters from the Calcutta community, forming the Missionaries of Charity for Sisters. She also founded the Missionaries of Charity for Brothers and Fathers. She established the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-workers, fostering unity among diverse individuals in their shared commitment to aid others. She even received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 !
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.St. Mother Teresa
Her life’s journey ended on September 5, 1997, but her legacy lives on. By the time of her death, over 4,000 Missionaries of Charity Sisters in 610 foundations spanned across 123 countries. Moreover, Mother Teresa was beatified on October 19, 2003 and canonized on September 4, 2016 by Pope Francis. She is the Patron Saint of missionaries, the poor, and the dying and we celebrate her Feast Day on September 5.
Following Mother Teresa’s passing, it was revealed through her letters that she frequently confronted moments of spiritual darkness and uncertainty, experiencing a sense of God’s absence and yearning for His love. Amidst feelings of desolation, she remained steadfast in her devotion even when faced with adversity. Her daily routine of receiving the Eucharist never faltered and she was always found with a rosary while caring for those in the slums. Mother Teresa continued to lead by example, and because of her resilience and strength, she impacted hundreds and thousands of lives across the world.
Let us learn from Mother Teresa’s example! May we see Jesus in those that the world may reject and always remember that everyone is a beloved child of God. Let us look to her life as inspiration and emulate her resilience and her enduring heart of service. Ultimately, we can all be like Mother Teresa, and embrace our calling to become more like Christ in our everyday lives.