“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” –Mother Teresa/
Mother Teresa was born in 1910, in Shkup (today the capital of Macedonia) to an Albanian Family. Her Birth name was Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. In Albanian Gonxhe is the name of a flower. Her father was Nikola (Kola) Bojaxhiu. He was born Prizren, an important Albanian city in Kosova. Her mother, Drandafile (Drane) was from a town called Gjakova, which is also located in Kosova. Kola was a successful businessman who was raised with traditional Albanian values. Drane Bojaxhiu was a traditional Albanian housewife and always showed love and compassion for the poor and the sick. Through action she became a role model to her kids and to others.
Mother Teresa was the youngest of three children. Her brother Lazër was the oldest of the three. Age, her sister, and Mother Teresa would go to Albanian Catholic church “Zemra e Krishtit” in Shkup. Both Mother Teresa and Age were part of the church’s chorus and were very talented in singing, drama and very involved with the church’s activities.
Mother Teresa received a calling to become a nun during a pilgrimage to St. Mary’s Church in a Letnica, a picturesque village in southwest of Kosova. Each year, on August 15th, the young Gonxha Bojaxhiu, visited the church that inspired her. Every time she visited the church, she was filled with more and more of the holly spirit. Subsequently, at age 17, she set about her mission of charity.
In 1919, when Mother Teresa was only 8 years old, her father Kola, a proponent of Albanian independence, had been poisoned and died in Belgrade. Her father was a representative of the city of Shkup, at the time populated by a majority Albanian population. After the loss of her father, Drane had to fill in her husband’s shoes -to not only being a mother to the three children but also a father.
In 1928, Gonxhe (Mother Teresa) joined the congregation of Loretos in Zagreb, Croatia. From Zagreb she was transferred to Dublin in Ireland, then soon after she was transferred to Calcutta. She taught history and geography at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, a school run by the Loreto Sisters. She learned Bangali and Hindi fluently and dedicated herself to teaching children Calcutta’s poorest kids.
On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa experienced a second calling, the “call within a call”. This happened while she was riding a train to a retreat to the Himalayan region. Mother Teresa said that Christ spoke to her and asked her to work in the slums of Calcutta to help the city’s poorest and sickest people. She needed permission to leave the convent. She requested permission from the archdiocese. Through persistence, and more requests, it took nearly a year and a half for her to receive approval from the Vatican to pursue her new calling, to help the poor, “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”
Mother Teresa took action to help the city’s poor. She quickly convinced the city officials to donate to her a dilapidated building to establish a home for the dying destitute. In 1950, she was given canonical recognition, resulting in the formation of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor, which she founded with a few members, mostly students and former teachers from St. Mary’s school.
In the words of Mother Teresa, the purpose of the Missionaries of Charity was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”
For over 50 years, Mother Teresa dedicated herself to helping the poor and to spreading the word that God is Love and that He loves us all.
Today, an Order that started with 12 members in Culcutta, has over 5,000 dedicated women and volunteers in helping the poor and sick in over 135 countries around the world, wearing the traditional color that she designed, the WHITE AND BLUE. Their presence is in orphanages, hospices, caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine all over the world
Mother Teresa received various honors for her tireless work of charity. She was also awarded the Jewel of India, the highest honor bestowed to an Indian Civilian. And 1979, Mother Teresa won her highest honor when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her tireless work in giving help to the poor and sick. In 2003, she was beautified and on September 4th, 2016, Mother Teresa will become one of our greatest Saint’s and will always be remembered for all she has done for humanity.
Thank you all for coming to this miracle of miracles and being part of History
May God Bless You All
From a Proud AMERICAN ALBANIAN