at World Youth Day in Paris, John Cardinal OConnor recalled a meeting with Mother
Theresa on the day he was elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals, " I saw her as
I was coming down the stairs of the High Altar at St. Peters Basilica and she said
to me, 'Give God permission. Let God touch other people through you'." John Cardinal OConnor, Archdiocese of New York.
||"Keep the joy of loving the poor and
share this joy with all you meet. Remember works of love are works of Peace. God Bless you."
- Mother Teresa
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August
26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, in
the former Yugoslavia, she was the youngest of three children. In her teens, Agnes became
a member of a youth group in her local pairsh 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. 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
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
In Calcutta, Sister Teresa taught geography and
cathechism at St. Mary's High School. In 1944, she became the principal of St. Mary's.
Soon 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 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. I knew where I belonged but I did not know how to get there."
In 1948, the Vatican granted Sister Teresa permission to
leave the Sisters of Loretto and pursue her calling under the jurisdiction of the
Archbishop of Calcutta.
Mother Teresa started with a school in the slums to
teach the children of the poor. She also learned basic medicine and went into the homes of
the sick to treat them. In 1949, some of her former pupils joined her. They found men,
women, and children dying on the streets who were rejected by local hospitals. The group
rented a room so they could care for helpless people otherwise condemned to die in the
gutter. In 1950, the group was established by the Church as a Diocesan Congregation of the
Calcutta Diocese. It was known as the Missionaries of Charity.