Mother Teresa, an Angel of Mercy, was God's greatest gift to mankind. Her life was a true story of love and compassion. It was she who brought shine on the faces of millions who were sick and poor. Throughout her life she did the service of the 'poorest of the poor'. She had firm belief that through serving the poorest, she was serving the God.
Mother Teresa's real name was Agnes Gonreha Bojaxhiu. She was born in Skopje, then in Albania, Yugoslavia, on 27th August, 1910. When she was only twelve years old, she decided to become a nun to spend her life for God's work. And at 18, she went to Ireland and entered the congregation of sisters of Loretto at the institute of Blessed Virgine Marg. There Agnes took on the name 'Teresa'. There in that distant land she would get the call to go to India. And it was in 'Kolkata' that she arrived in 1929, to become a teacher in a Lorretto school. She devoted 17 years of her life to it.
In 1946 she left the school to serve the 'poorest of the poor' of Kolkata. She discarded the black and white dress of the Lorretto nuns and wore a coarse, blue-bordered sari. Sister Teresa became an Indian Citizen in the year 1948 and came to be known as Mother Teresa. She had boundless faith and courage in her heart. She set up her organisation, the Missionaries of charity. It began formally in October, 1950.
In the early days, she had lack of money and help. But Mother Teresa did not wait for them. She entered a slum, gathered a few children around her, picked up a stick and drew the letters of the Bengali alphabet on the ground. Soon someone donated a chair, another a blackboard and teachers volunteered their services and the school became a reality.
Later Mother Teresa resolved to build a home where the abandoned could live and die with dignity. The search led her to Kalighat where the Kolkata Corporation gave her some empty halls. Thus became her first home for the dying and she called it 'Nirmal Hriday', 'the place of the Pure Heart'.
Mother Teresa also set up N irmal Shishu Bhavan for the poor, orphaned and abandoned children. She worked for the lepers too. Mother set up a shop under a tree in a tempers' colony, and gave out medicines, dressing and dispensed simple treatments. Later she built Prem Nivas, the 'floor of love' for them.
The whole world in general and India in particular is grateful to her. In 1962 the Government of India awarded her 'Padma shree'. In the year 1971 Pope VI, honoured her the first Pope John XX111Peace Prize. In 1979 she received Nobel Peace Prize. Thus she has received over so many national and international awards. She spent all cash awards on the poor and the suffering.
Mother travelled throughout the world to set up Islands of hope for the neglected and the poor. She left fourth heavenly abode on Sept. 5, 1997 in Kolkata. The whole world shocked to hear the news of her death. Her funeral took place with full state honours. Hundreds of important Indian and world personalities came to pay homage to her.
Mother Teresa showed us the path of service. Our best tribute will be to follow that path.