Mother Teresa
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How did "Mother Teresa" come to be?

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (gonxha meaning "rosebud" or "little flower" in Albanian) was born on 26 August 1910, in Uskub, Ottoman Empire (now Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia). 

At eight years old, her father died. After her father's death, her mother brought her up in the church.  In her early years Agnes was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service in Bengal, and by age 12 was convinced that she should commit herself to a religious life.

In her teens, Agnes became a member of a youth group in her local parish called Sodality. Through her involvement with their activities guided by a Jesuit priest, Agnes became interested in missionaries. At age 17, she responded to her first call of a vocation as a Catholic missionary nun while praying at a shrine. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loretto as a missionary. She never again saw her mother or sister.

She joined an Irish order, the Sisters of Loretto, a community known for their missionary work in India. When she took her vows as a Sister of Loretto, she chose the name Teresa after Theresa Lisieux.  "Teresa" is the Spanish form of "Theresa."

In Calcutta, Sister Teresa taught geography and catechism at St. Mary's High School. Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta. In 1944, she became the principal of St. Mary's. 

Soon after becoming the principal, Sister Teresa contracted tuberculosis, was unable to continue teaching and was sent to Darjeeling for rest and recuperation. It was on the train to Darjeeling that through prayer she received her second call -- "the call within the call". Mother Teresa recalled later, "I was to leave the convent and work with the poor, living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith."

Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulties. She had no income and had to resort to begging for food and supplies. Teresa experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months. But she resolved, "Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard." The rest is history.

Now for the question -- How did "Mother Teresa" come to be?

Somewhere early on in church, Agnes received Jesus Christ into her heart and became a Christian.  The Holy Spirit indwelt her heart for life by faith.  In her times of prayer, she learned to dialog with God.  This dialog became her divine guidance.  She began to do good as part of the fellowship of the Sodality group and under the encouragement of a priest.  The priest also taught her about our hope in Heaven and being with God.

During this launching phase, she learned to walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit and to put off the old nature that tried to hamper her. She learned to have confidence in this guidance by experience, just as we all do. The first big Word she received from God was to join the Sisters of Loretto.  She obeyed, knowing it was from God and He would reward her for obedience.

She had a powerful Christian fellowship among the Sisters of Loretto.  During this time, she learned to have God's attitude and priorities as her own.  This gradually grew into the agape love that grieved her heart about the squalor she saw around her school.

The second big call of God came to leave the fellowship of the convent and minister alone to those desperately poor people as one of them.  Only Agape love could hold her up at this dark time.  But she resolved to die to the remaining "self" and commit her entire life to God's call.  Then God came through with bringing people and funds to help her create the Missionaries of Charity.

God will leave us hanging out there to see what is in our hearts when we are squeezed.  It is called the Dark Night of the Soul.  Moses did it.  Abraham did it.  Jesus did it on the cross.  Paul did it while waiting for Ananias.  You too will be called to do it.  Be bold and strong in the Lord at that time.  He will come through.

 

Orderofsaintpatrick.org /stories/mother-teresa.htm                   updated:  04/10/2015