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The Inspiring Life of Mother Teresa

When considering inspiring people, one often focuses on people who have overcome great obstacles. In the case of Mother Teresa, the focus should be on her sacrifices.
Although known by the world as Mother Teresa, her real name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia and considered Albanian. At the age of 18, she left her family to join the Sisters of Loretto as a nun.
In 1950, the inspiring story of Mother Teresa started to develop. She received permission for the Roman Catholic Church to open a congregation that would eventually become the Missionaries of Charity. The goal of the Missionary was to care for the hungry, naked, crippled, homeless and all those that were unloved and forgotten by the world.
The order had humble beginnings. It began with 13 members in Calcutta, India. Calcutta was and is one of the more desperate locations in the world, a place that reduces most visitors to tears at one point or another during their trip. In other words, it was a perfect place for Mother Teresa to do her work and make a huge impact. She did just that.
In 1952, the first home of the Missionary was opened in Calcutta with help from city officials. Soon thereafter, Mother Teresa converted an abandoned Hindu temple into Kalighat Home for the Dying where the terminally ill could have dignity in death. She would go on to open homes for lepers and an orphanage. She also became one of the first to open an home for victims of AIDS, a remarkable step given the less than friendly stance of the Roman Catholic Church towards the disease at that time. She would eventually expand her efforts outside of India, opening homes in Asia, Europe and Africa.
As Mother Teresa widened her efforts, she became a celebrity and brought attention to her causes. She was awarded the peace and freedom prized by various countries. In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She refused the ceremonial banquet and instead asked the money be used for it be donated. She also donated her cash award.
By 1996, Mother Teresa was an inspirational force that could not be denied. She was operating over 500 missions in over 100 countries. Unfortunately, her health had been failing her for some time. She had multiple heart attacks and eventually became very frail. She passed away on September 5, 1997, at the age of 87. She was given a full state funeral in India, a designation usually only given to Presidents. In 2003, Pope John Paul II began the beatification process for her, which eventually leads to a declaration of sainthood.


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