1910 AD (Skopje, Macedonia) – 1997 AD (Calcutta, India)
Saint Teresa was born in Macedonia into an Albanian family. From early childhood she was fascinated by missionaries, who travel to faraway places to tell people about Jesus who have never heard about him before. And when Teresa was 12, she was convinced that she should become one! Sure enough, when she was 18 she left home and eventually arrived in Calcutta in India. Can you imagine going so far to tell people about Jesus?
For many years she was a teacher there in schools and greatly enjoyed it, but she was also getting concerned about all the poor people who lived in the area. One day, after a long time of little or no food being available, that caused many people to get sick and die, Teresa was traveling by train and heard a voice inside her. It was calling her to look after the poorest of the poor and to live with them! Who do you think that voice came from? Yes, it was God!
At the beginning, she was all by herself and even had to beg for food. Do you think that made her give up and return to her fellow nuns? No, Saint Mother Teresa decided to keep listening to that voice from God and stay with the poor. Soon more and more women joined her to take care of the poor, and like Saint Francis and Saint Clare before her, she too started her own group of nuns called the Missionaries of Charity. In the beginning there were only 13 of them, but they took care of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the sick and all those people who feel unwanted, unloved and uncared for.
Even though she did these great acts of love to the poor, for long periods in her life Saint Teresa didn’t feel God close to her. How do you think that felt? Yes, quite difficult. But do you think that stopped here? No, because she still knew that God was acting through her.
Do you remember when Jesus on the cross said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”? Mother Teresa must have felt just like that, but she loved Jesus so much, that she carried on following His voice. We too can be like Saint Teresa! God is there no matter what we do and all he asks us is to trust Him!
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.”
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu