LIVED: Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was born August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia; she joined the Sisters of Loretto in 1928, taking the name Teresa, after St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She died on September 5, 1997, in Calcutta, India.
MISSION: While on retreat in 1946, God gave her a special mission: “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”
ADVENTURES: In 1948, Sister Teresa left the convent school where she had happily taught history and geography to girls from well-off families for fi ft een years. She moved into a nearby slum, and began teaching the children there, writing the alphabet in the dirt.
Over time, her mission grew: Many of her students joined her, and eventually, they formed the Missionaries of Charity.
One day as she and a sister were walking along, they encountered a man lying in the gutter, dirty, covered with sores, and dying. They picked him up and took him to their home, where they washed him, cleaned his wounds, and cared for him. This was the beginning of the Home for the Dying, just one of hundreds of centers that Mother Teresa would found around the world.
Another time, while visiting war-torn Lebanon, she announced that the next day she and her sisters would cross the battle lines in order to rescue orphaned and disabled children on the other side.
“It’s impossible,” her hosts told her. “You’ll be shot!”
Mother Teresa just smiled. “Tomorrow, the fighting will stop. There will be a truce.”
“How do you know, Mother?”
“Because the sisters have prayed for it,” she said.
The next day, the warring sides declared a cease-fire, and the mission to rescue the children was successful.
Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 in recognition of her work for peace. Her way of peace is not complicated: It starts with prayer, and a smile, and seeing Jesus in each and every person.