Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonk Bojaxhiu (1910–1997), was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun
who founded the Missionaries of Charity in India.
Her work among the poverty-stricken in Kolkata (Calcutta)
made her one of the world's most famous people. She was beatified by Pope John
Paul II in October 2003.
Born in Uskub, Ottoman Empire (now Skopje, in the Republic of Macedonia),
at 18 she left home to join the Sisters of Loretto.
In 1962 she received the Magsaysay Award for Peace
and International Understanding. In 1971 she was awarded the Pope John XXIII
Peace Prize and St. Gabriel award. Teresa was also awarded the Templeton Prize
in 1973, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and India's
highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980.
She was awarded the Legion d'Honneur
by Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1981. She
was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, was made an
Honorary Citizen of the United
(one of only two people to have this honour during their lifetime) in 1996, and
received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. She was the first and only
person to be featured on an Indian postage stamp while still alive.
Just at the edge of Skopje’s city mall is the place where the house
of Mother Theresa used to stand. The memorial plaque was dedicated in March
1998 and it reads: “On this place was the house where Gondza
Bojadziu - Mother Theresa - was born on 26 August 1910”. Her message to the world is also inscribed: “The world is not hungry
for bread, but for love”
Mother Teresa received UNESCO's 1992 Peace Education
Prize, which the Organization awards annually to recognise activities which
help to "construct the defences of peace in the minds of men." At the
time of her selection, the international jury said the prize paid tribute to
"a life entirely consecrated to the service of the poor, to the promotion
of peace and to combating injustice."
In presenting the prize in Calcutta in December 1993, director-general Federico Mayor said that Mother
Teresa had taught - by her example of active charity - that true peace was
inseparable from the dignity of each individual. In accepting the award, Mother
Teresa said that "works of love are works of peace" and that "it
is therefore important we pray, because the fruit of prayer was the deepening
of faith and of love." The prize money was used to build an extension to
the Nirmala Kennedy Centre, a home for the
handicapped that she ran in Calcutta.
In March 1975 the Food and Agriculture Organization struck its Ceres
Medals in recognition of Mother's "exemplary love and concern for the
hungry and the poorest of the poor". The Medal showed Mother Teresa
representing the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. In June 1975 she was awarded the
Voice of America's International Women's Year Pin for her work for the poor in India.
Former UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar
said on her visit to the United Nations in 1985: "This is the most
powerful woman on earth. This is the woman who is welcomed everywhere with
respect and admiration. She is truly the "United Nations', for she has
welcomed into her heart the poor from every corner of the earth!".
The official biography from
Mother Teresa's Message
to the Fourth
Conference on Women, Beijing 1995.
Bangladesh 5 September 1999
Papua New Guinea 29 April 1998
Up - Home
last revised: 28 March 2010