Sunday, September 05, 2010

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

One hundred years ago, on August 26, 1910, Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was born into the world to Albanian parents in Skopje, then part of the Ottoman Empire, now part of the Republic of Macedonia. Thirteen years ago, on September 5, 1997, she was born into heaven.

Having been called to religious life, the young lamb Agnes took the name "Mary Teresa," after St. Thérèse of Lisieux, upon joining the Sisters of Loreto. After learning English in Ireland, Sister Teresa was sent to India, which was then part of the British Empire, where she made her first profession of vows in May 1931. She then taught at St. Mary's School for Girls in Calcutta, becoming principal as well in 1944. Upon taking her final profession of vows in May 1937, Sister Teresa became a spouse of Jesus for all eternity and, from then on, she was called "Mother Teresa."

Mother Teresa of the Sisters of Loreto was a beloved teacher, but she was called to something else. She received a "calling within a calling."

On September 10, 1946, on a train ride to a retreat in Darjeeling, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration." The Lord, in His deep thirst for love, had called her to go out into the world to serve the poorest of the poor. She was initially denied permission to leave the convent since this was not part of the mission of the Sisters of Loreto. She was offered to be released from her vows, but Mother Teresa, being a spouse of Jesus for all eternity, of course declined.

However, on August 17, 1948, Mother Teresa did receive permission to enter the world of the poor. She then put on for the first time the familiar white and blue sari, and began to minister to the poor of Calcutta. In October 1950, she received permission to establish a new religious community, the Missionaries of Charity. Soon other women religious put on the white and blue sari, and Mother Teresa began to send her sisters to other parts of India and then to other countries.

In time, Mother Teresa and her sisters became known to the whole world for the love that they showed to the lowest of the low.

Upon her death in 1997, she was buried at the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, and her tomb immediately became a place of pilgrimage and prayer. On October 17, 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, longing to love Jesus as He had never been loved before, you gave yourself entirely to Him, refusing Him nothing.

In union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you accepted His call to satiate His infinite thirst for love and souls and become a carrier of His love to the poorest of the poor.

With loving trust and total surrender you fulfilled His will, witnessing to the joy of belonging totally to Him. You became so intimately united to Jesus your crucified Spouse that He deigned to share with you the agony of His Heart as He hung upon the Cross.

Blessed Teresa, you promised to continuously bring the light of love to those on earth; pray for us that we also may long to satiate the burning thirst of Jesus by loving Him ardently, sharing in His sufferings joyfully, and serving Him wholeheartedly in our brothers and sisters, especially those most unloved and unwanted.



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