Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)
Called a living saint in her lifetime, Mother Teresa died in 1997, beatified in 2003 . . .
Feast Day: September 5
Beatified: October 19, 2003
She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the daughter of an Albanian grocer, in Skopje, Macedonia. At 17, she entered a congregation of Irish Loretto sisters. After six weeks of training, she set sail for India where she taught the daughters of prosperous families.
After a few years, however, she asked permission to care for Calcutta’s poor. Granted approval, she began tending to the sick, teaching slum children and caring for the dying. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, approved by Pope Pius XII in 1950. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Despite poor health, Mother Teresa traveled the world right up until her death, speaking on the rights of the poor and the dangers of abortion and contraception.
After one of the swiftest investigations for a cause for canonization in modern history, she was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II. He said of her, “‘As you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Mt 25: 40). This Gospel passage, so crucial in understanding Mother Teresa’s service to the poor, was the basis of her faith-filled conviction that in touching the broken bodies of the poor she was touching the body of Christ.”