Saint Mother Teresa
Born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje (then a part of the Ottoman Empire, now in Northern Macedonia) Mother Teresa was an Albanian by birth although she is most known for her work in India. From a young age, Anjeze was fascinated by the work of missionaries and by the age of twelve she was already sure that she would pursue a religious vocation.
She left home at the age of eighteen to join the Sister of Loreto. She studied in Ireland with the order, learning English so that she could become a missionary in India. Once she had mastered English, she traveled to Darjeeling in the Himalayas to continue her novitiate. When she took religious vows the adopted the religious name of Teresa.
Sr. Teresa taught in the order’s schools in Calcutta. She enjoyed her teaching work and eventually became headmistress of the school, but she came to believe that she was called to address more directly the poverty and illness which she saw around her in Calcutta. In 1950 at the age of forty, she founded the Missionaries of Charity. The order adopted a traditional white sari with a blue border as their religious habit, and they took as their special mission the care of the sick and dying.
Mother Teresa’s work with the Missionaries of Charity gained the attention of many leaders in the Church and in the secular world, as the order expanded to operate hospices, orphanages, and other ministries to those most in need.today the order has more than 5,000 religious sisters and operates throughout the world. Mother Teresa and her dedication to serving the sick and poor drew her close to world leaders ranging from John Paul II to Princess Diana.
Calls for Mother Teresa’s canonization began immediately after her death in 1997. She was beatified in 2003 and canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis. Her feast day is September 5th.
In this icon, St. Mother Teresa’s halo is imprinted with an image of the world, showing the way in which her Missionaries of Charity work all around the world. There is a small blue jewel marking Calcutta where so much of St. Teresa’s work was done. In her hands, she holds two pieces of Indian flat bread, as a symbol of her work feeding the poor in India.
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