St. Teresa of Calcutta: charity, perseverance

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By Mel Mantanona

In 2016, the world today had the honor of watching a woman who changed the world become a canonized saint. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, more famously known as St. Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa, was born on Aug. 26, 1910 in the Republic of Macedonia.

Her father died when she was 8 years old so her family suffered financially. She received first holy Communion when she was 5 years old and confirmed a year later. She was educated and raised in a Sacred Heart parish run by the Jesuit community.

When Agnes, turned 18, she traveled to Ireland to enter into the Sisters of Loreto convent, formally known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and received the name Sister Mary Teresa.

She came back to Loreto and taught at St. Mary’s School for girls after her final profession of vows eventually becoming principal. After her Final Profession of Vows at the age of 27, she became known as Mother Teresa. She spent these years living out selflessness, courage, and charity.

On Sept. 10, 1946 in India, she received her “inspiration” and began to receive visions of Jesus in dialogue with her revealing the desires of his heart for “victims of love” who would “radiate his love on souls.”

Jesus begged her to be his light for he couldn’t “go alone.” He shared his pain for the poor whom he knew were neglected and ignorant of him. He asked Mother Teresa to found a community dedicated to the poorest of the poor.

This community became the Missionaries of Charity who devoted their time and efforts into traveling all over India, and eventually world-wide, to care and love the poor. The efforts of the communities included, but were not limited to, the harsh labors of physical and spiritual care that one normally wouldn’t be inclined to do.

The community expanded and welcomed the Missionaries of Charity Brothers, Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, Lay Missionaries of Charity, and many more.

With the charism and spirit of Mother Teresa, all of her followers not only took the world by storm, but inspired a love for the poor in so many people. Mother Teresa received many awards for her accomplishments including a Nobel Peace Prize.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Mother Teresa’s life is the lesser known fact that she persevered in times of extreme spiritual darkness. For 50 long years, she experienced a deep pain from feeling separated from God. This darkness made her long for God’s love until the day she died. This darkness brought her into a special union with God, sharing in Jesus’ painful, burning longing for love.

Mother Teresa died in 1997 and was canonized in 2016. She is the patron saint of World Youth Day and her feast day is Sept. 5.

Let us pray through the intercession of Mother Teresa not only for a love of the poor but also for perseverance in times of spiritual darkness.

Information and photo from http://motherteresa.org.