“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."
How did a simple Albanian girl named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu grow up to become the world-renowned missionary Mother Teresa? Today we celebrate Women’s History Month by exploring the life of this remarkable woman, who is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century.
Her incredible story began in the year 1910. Born into a devout Catholic family, Agnes was only 8 years old when her father became ill and died. She was very close to her mother, who instilled in her daughter a deep sense of compassion for others and commitment to charity. In fact, the city’s poorest people were always welcomed to dine at the family’s table. "My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others," her mother told her.
This serious, sensitive young girl grew up to become a Catholic nun, teacher, and missionary. Taking the name Sister Mary Teresa, she traveled to Calcutta, India, learned to speak fluent Bengali and Hindi, and taught at a convent school where she was dedicated to alleviating girls’ poverty through education. In 1937, after taking her final vows, she became Mother Teresa.
Suddenly, after 17 years of teaching, Mother Teresa experienced a calling that would transform her life and the lives of countless others. Her mission? To help “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.” After six months of basic medical training, she ventured into Calcutta’s slums to care for the city’s poorest, sickest people. She established an orphanage, nursing home and mobile health clinics. She helped people suffering with leprosy, AIDS and tuberculosis.
Like ripples in the ocean, Mother Teresa’s charitable work continued to expand throughout the world, touching millions of lives. She was awarded the Jewel of India (the highest honor bestowed on Indian civilians), and in 1979, the Nobel Peace Price. At the time of her death in 1997, her Missionaries of Charity were operating 610 foundations in 123 countries.
So, after reading about Mother Teresa’s amazing and inspiring life, do you agree with her belief that every “drop in the ocean” matters? What would you like your “drop” to be? We’d love to hear about it!
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