Mother Teresa Leadership Profile Project

Mother Teresa Biography

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." - Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu
Born: August 26th, 1910 in Skopje, Yugoslavia
Died: September 5th, 1997 in Calcutta, India
Biography: Mother Teresa born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on August 26th, 1910, in Skopje, Yugoslavia.  Although she was born on August 26th, she always considered August 27th, the day that she was baptized, to be her true birthday. She was the youngest in her family whom originated from Shkoder, Albania. Her father, Nikolle was involved in Albanian politics, he died in 1919 when she was only eight years old. After her father's death, her mother Drana raised her along with her sisters as a Roman Catholics.

Ever since age twelve, Agnes knew that she had a strong connection to God. And that she had to become a missionary in order to spread the word of the gospel. By the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje, Yugoslavia and joined the Sisters of Loretto, an Irish community of Nuns with missions posted in India, she never saw her mother or sisters again. Agnes went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn the English language, that the Sisters of Loretto used to teach the school children in India. On May 24th, 1931  when Agnes took her initial vows as a Sister of Loretto, she chose the name Teresa after Therese de Lisieux, a patron saint of missionaries.

In Calcutta, Sister Teresa taught geography and cathechism at St. Mary's High School. In 1944, she became the Headmistress of St. Mary's High School. 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 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 to pursue her calling under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Calcutta. Mother Teresa started with a school in the slums of India 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. And was known as the Missionaries of Charity.