Mother Teresa also known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC, was an Albanian Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary. She was born in Skopje (modern Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire. After having lived in Macedonia for some eighteen years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. They run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s and family counselling programmes; orphanages; and schools. Members must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow, to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.
Mother Teresa was the recipient of numerous honours, including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003, she was beatified as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. A second miracle was credited to her intercession by Pope Francis, in December 2015, paving the way for her to be recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
A controversial figure both during her life and after her death, Mother Teresa was widely admired by many for her charitable works, but was also widely criticised, particularly for her opposing both abortion and contraception. And here are the few life lessons we must learn from Mother Teresa.
1. Be humble.
“These are the few ways we can practice humility: To speak as little as possible of one’s self. To mind one’s own business. Not to want to manage other people’s affairs. To avoid curiosity. To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully. To pass over the mistakes of others. To accept insults and injuries. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked. To be kind and gentle even under provocation. Never to stand on one’s dignity. To choose always the hardest.”
“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
2. Mind your own beeswax.
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
3. Don’t sweat the petty stuff.
“People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”
4. Don’t point out the faults of others.
“Intense love does not measure; it just gives.”
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
5. Have good manners, even at your worst.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
“A life not lived for others is not a life.”
6. Take the harder path.
“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
Mother Teresa was a rare and unique individual who lived long for higher purposes. Her life-long devotion to the care of the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged was one of the highest examples of service to our humanity. Mother Teresais peace in the world and her official biography was written by an Indian civil servant, Navin Chawla, and published in 1992.
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