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Mother Teresa Facts and Biography

Amanda Knapp, Christopher Staysniak
  • Author
    Amanda Knapp

    Amanda Knapp has taught and tutored English at the college level for over ten years. She taught English to Chinese children for over two years. She has a Master of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising from Marquette University where she also minored in marketing and psychology. She has numerous articles and essays published.

  • Instructor
    Christopher Staysniak

    Chris has taught college history and has a doctorate in American history.

Learn who Mother Teresa is and the facts about her biography. Find out where she was born and what charitable and missionary work she did as St. Teresa of Calcutta. Updated: 03/13/2022

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Who is Mother Teresa?

Mother Teresa is one of the most well-known recent saints in the Roman Catholic Church. She is best known for her work with the poor in Calcutta and for founding the Missionaries of Charity. St Teresa of Calcutta became renowned worldwide and even won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mother Teresa Biography

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia. She was baptized in the Catholic Church the next day. She was raised in a devout family that included her mother, father, sister, and brother. She was the youngest of three children.

The family lived comfortably and were very generous with what they had. However, at the age of either eight or nine, her father, who was quite involved in politics, died. It is said that he died of an illness, but there is speculation that he was poisoned.

The family’s generosity with all they had remained even though they no longer were as well off financially. Her mother told her, '' My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.''

Bojaxhiu’s family was strict as her parents did not want them focusing their time on frivolous matters. They were, however, very devout. The children said the rosary together every night, and her mother went to Mass every day.

As a public school student, she first became interested in the missions when she was a member of a foreign missions group at school.

When she was twelve years old, Bojaxhiu started to feel called to become a nun. She was influenced by a Jesuit priest who often told of his missionary work in India. So she joined the Loreto Sisters in 1928. This group of nuns out of Ireland did mission work in India.


Mother Teresa, 1980.

Image of Mother Teresa


Mother Teresa's Death

In March 1997, Mother Teresa stepped down as head of the Missionaries of Charity. At the time, the order had 4,400 members. She passed away six months later. The Indian government had a state funeral for her, and the carriage her body was transported in was the same one they used to transport the body of Gandhi after his death.

The world mourned her loss, and on September 4, 2016, Pope Francis declared her a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

St. Teresa of Calcutta

After Bojaxhui went to Darjeeling, India, to complete her training. In 1931 she took her final vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. At that time, she took the name, Sister Teresa. She then was sent to Calcutta to work first as a teacher and then as a principal in a girls’ school. She became familiar with the poor in Calcutta, although her students themselves were wealthy.

On September 10, 1946, her life would change. She was on a train ride when, as she said, ''. . . I heard the call of God. The message was quite clear: I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.'' This is what she referred to as her call within a call. It was not until 1948 that the pope granted her permission to leave the Loreto Sisters. She received six months of medical training and left for Calcutta. She would eventually become known as Mother Teresa.

In 1950 she received official recognition of her group, the Missionaries of Charity.

What did Mother Teresa do?

The Missionaries of Charity were focused on providing aid to the poorest of the poor. Some of the work they did was

  • Open a school for children from the slums
  • Work with lepers
  • Opened a home for orphans
  • Opened a nursing home
  • Began a family clinic
  • Opened mobile clinics
  • Opened homes for AIDS patients
  • Opened a clinic for those dying and cared for them so they could die with dignity.

The Missionaries of Charity were insistent upon living with and similar to those they served. They, themselves, we're dedicated to poverty, and they wore a sari similar to other women in Calcutta. Mother Teresa said, '' To be able to love the poor and know the poor, we must be poor ourselves.'~.'

Because they received considerable publicity, the Missionaries could expand their work.

The Missionaries of Charity expanded beyond Calcutta to other areas in India and worldwide.

Mother Teresa Facts

Mother Teresa is known for her very practical love. As seen as follows, her words match this dedication she had.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Mother Teresa's work important?

Mother Teresa's work was important because she worked tirelessly to help those who had no one else to help them. She was determined to live like the poor among the poor. The call she received was to help the poorest of the poor.

Who was Mother Teresa and what did she do?

Mother Teresa is a Roman Catholic saint. She began work as a sister of Loreto, working in India before she started the Missionaries of Charity, who were dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor.

What did Mother Teresa do to change the world?

Mother Teresa made a huge impact in the world because of her dedication to the poor. Among other things, her Missionaries of Charity opened schools, orphanages, medical clinics, homes for the elderly, and homes for dying so they could die with dignity.

What is Mother Teresa most famous for?

Mother Teresa is a Roman Catholic saint known throughout the world primarily for her work in India. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, who were dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor.

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