Vocation of Service
In 1952 the first Home for the Dying was opened in space made available by the City of Calcutta. Over the years, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity grew from 12 to thousands serving the "poorest of the poor" in 450 centers around the world. Mother Teresa created many homes for the dying and the unwanted from Calcutta to New York to Albania. She was one of the pioneers of establishing homes for AIDS victims. For more than 45 years, Mother Teresa comforted the poor, the dying, and the unwanted around the world.
In 1966, the Missionaries of Charity Brothers was founded. Homes began to open in Rome, Tanzania, and Australia. In 1971, the first home in the United States was established in the South Bronx, New York.
Mother Teresa gained worldwide acclaim with her tireless efforts on behalf of world peace. Her work brought her numerous humanitarian awards, including : the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. In receiving this award, Mother Teresa revolutionized the award ceremony. She insisted on a departure from the ceremonial banquet and asked that the funds, $6,000 be donated to the poor in Calcutta. This money would permit her to feed hundreds for a year.
She is stated to have said that earthly rewards were important only if they helped her help the world’s needy.
Beginning in 1980, homes began to spring-up for drug addicts, prostitutes, battered women, and more orphanages and schools for poor children around the world. In 1985, Mother Teresa established the first hospice for AIDS victims in New York. Later homes were added in San Francisco and Atlanta. Mother Teresa was awarded Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian award.
In 1991, Mother Teresa returned for the first time to her native Albania and opened a home in Tirana. By this year, there were 168 homes established in India.
On February 3, 1994 at a National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, in Washington, DC, Mother Teresa challenged the audience on such topics as family life and abortion. She said, "Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give the child to me."
Mother Teresa traveled to help the hungry in Ethiopia, radiation victims at Chernobyl, and earthquake victims in Armenia. Her zeal and works of mercy knew no boundaries.
In November of 1996, Mother Teresa received the honorary U.S. citizenship.