The day when the world becomes free of all its issues will probably never come. However, it does not mean that one should give up all the aspirations to make it a better place. There are numerous examples of people doing small changes every day and changing the lives of others gradually. If every individual has made their responsibility and capability clear, then the task of making the world a better place for everyone would not seem to be impossible. The purpose of this essay is to consider the life and contribution of the most inspiring women of all times, Mother Teresa.
Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa, was born in today’s capital of North Macedonia, Skopje, in August 1910. However, the date of birth of Mother Teresa is still an issue of a robust discussion. Her parents were of Albanian descent, even though, back in 1910, an Albanian state did not exist yet. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912 when the Republic of Albania declared its independence. Although Mother Teresa was Albanian, she had not visited Albania until 1989 (Endresen 53). The reason for this was Albanian officials who refused to issue her a visa. Once the Communist regime fell, the problem solved itself. In her early years, Mother Teresa understood that her mission was to spread the love of Jesus Christ. When she was eighteen, she decided to join a Catholic congregation called “the Sisters of Loreto,” which sent missions to India. Having taken a mandatory training in Dublin, Mother Teresa went to India where she finally made her vows as a nun.
In Calcutta, Mother Teresa was teaching at the school from 1931 to 1948. During these years, she noticed that outside the walls of the convent, ordinary poor people were suffering a lot. This observation was an incentive that made Mother Teresa ask for permission from her congregation to devote herself to helping most marginalized people in Calcutta. First, she started an open-air school, but soon other people, who cared about vulnerable residents of Calcutta, joined her. In 1950, Mother Teresa founded her order called The Missionaries of Charity. Fifteen years after, the congregation received a decree of the Pope, which made the work of the order possible in other countries of the world. Overall, she was a well-respected person who committed herself to help less privileged people. She received such awards as the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian endeavors and contribution (Endresen 53).
Vision of the Society
Mother Teresa turned her entire life into a commitment to serve people and ease the sufferings of the most vulnerable ones. She saw the inequalities, but, compared to most people, she started to make her contribution to improving the lives of people living in misery all around the world. She is one of the few examples of human beings who sacrificed their lives for the common good. Mother Teresa was a person with a clear vision of how society should look like and what kind of experiences all people should be able to have. Her understanding of existing injustices was deep, profound, and non-hypocritical. From the early beginning of her independent activity, she made it clear for all the people working with her, that the conditions of living should be the same for both helpers and people in need of help.
Her vision was also clear in terms of differences between the societies in developed countries and developing ones. Mother Teresa was well aware of what problems were wide-spread in certain communities, so she kept her mind open to new issues and challenges. Her Charity was asked to come to help people in various corners of the world, so it can be argued with certainty that Mother Teresa was a citizen of the world, as she genuinely aspired to help people everywhere.
Contribution to the Society
Due to her inspiring work, many women joined The Missionaries of Charity to serve the poorest of the poor. By the 1990s, there were established representations of the Charity in 123 countries of the world, including former Communist states such as Russia, Albania, etc. (Metaxas 112). She not only overcame the differences between wealthy societies of the Global North and South but also between two political blocks.
Mother Teresa also took up the initiatives on the issues neglected by others, even the government. For example, she opened a leaper asylum in Calcutta when there were more than 30 000 people afflicted with leprosy in Calcutta about whom nobody really cared. The government was not always on her side, so in the case of a leaper asylum, she was forced to evacuate all the patients. However, Mother Teresa wasn’t a person who would easily give up, she started a fundraising campaign, and when she accumulated enough resources, she founded a mobile leprosy clinic. Furthermore, Mother Teresa opened similar houses for people with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. She traveled to conflict-torn areas to rescue children and move them from demolished hospitals.
Meaning of the Historical Figure
Mother Teresa was a good leader who skillfully conveyed her ideas to the general public all around the world. Even though she held strong beliefs in Catholicism, as she was a Catholic nun, her view overcame the borders of one religion and appealed to very different people from distant places of the Earth. Charisma was Mother Teresa’s gift from God as she couldn’t but attracted the attention of media from the very start of her career. In 1968, Malcolm Muggeridge decided to interview Mother Teresa for the BBC (Metaxas). Thanks to this interview on BBC, Mother Teresa obtained world fame.
Despite all the praising words about Mother Teresa, she received a lot of criticism during and after her lifetime. For example, even though the Catholic church recognized Mother Teresa as a saint, not every Catholic agreed with the decision. Some people believe that she had not done enough for the church as she didn’t try to convert people (Donohue). There is also an idea that such famous examples as Mother Teresa may discourage ordinary people from making their contribution in any form of charity (Morin et al.). However, considering Mother Teresa’s Charity from a humanitarian point of view, one can argue that human interests and life matter more than the benefits of any particular religion.
The work of mother Teresa has been inspiring for people all around the world. She is a classic example of a person who devoted her life to helping people in need. Mother Teresa contributed to the elevation of many people’s miseries daily. However, her way of life is not free of criticism, as there are many aspects in her work which could have been improved. What is clear in spite of all these ambiguities surrounding Mother Teresa’s figure is that her example will continue living on and encouraging people of the world to do better for themselves and people around them.
Donohue, Bill. Unmasking Mother Teresa’s Critics. Sophia Institute Press, 2016.
Endresen, Cecilie. “The Nation and the Nun: Mother Teresa, Albania’s Muslim Majority and the Secular State.” Islam & Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 26, no. 1, 2015, pp. 53–74.
Metaxas, Eric. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness. Thomas Nelson, 2015.
Morin, Amanda L., et al. “The Mother Teresa Effect: Counterproductive Effects of Touching an Altruist’s Possessions on Charitable Giving.” Current Psychology, vol. 34, no. 4, 2015, pp. 693-701.