Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu: From Mother Teresa to Saint Teresa of Calcutta
- September 27, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: General Knowledge
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, revered as Mother Teresa for several years, was canonized in a canonization mass held in Vatican City by Pope Francis on Sunday, among a throng of followers, including from her Missionaries of Charity and members of the Indian delegation such as Union Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, in attendance.
The process of canonization to declare a person a saint requires the Vatican to approve accounts of two miracles occurring as a result of prayers for Teresa’s intercession. In Mother Teresa’s case, the first miracle was ratified in 2002 wherein an Indian woman, Monica Besra says she recovered from ovarian cancer a year after Mother Teresa’s death. Local officials beg to differ and have credited medicine rather than prayer for her recovery. The second miracle was approved last year when Brazilian Marcilio Haddad Andrino said his wife’s prayers to Mother Teresa led to brain tumours disappearing eight years ago.
Mother Teresa was born to Albanian parents in Macedonia. She joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland at the age of 18 and arrived in India in 1929, where she began teaching initially. She started working among the poor and suffering and decided to help those who were unloved and unwanted. She got Indian citizenship in 1948 and set up the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. One of the vows the members of this organization must take is that of “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.” As of 2012, the Missionaries of Charity comprised of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries. Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for public service.
However, like many other people, she has her set of detractors as well. While some have questioned her acceptance of donations from tainted people, others have questioned her orthodox views on abortion. In a controversial Nobel Peace Prize speech in 1979, she termed abortion as “murder by the mother”. To the former charge, when Mother Teresa had been questioned about it, she stated that everyone had a right to give, and it was not for us to judge who is right or wrong. The views against abortion were her personal views, based on her religious beliefs. There were accounts of secret conversions to Christianity being undertaken by the Missionaries of Charity as well.
However, focusing on the worst has become almost a habit in today’s day and age, where we are constantly reminded of Shakespeare’s famous words in Julius Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” It is good to be impartial and critical but is it acceptable to pull down an individual’s years of work and service for the poor, destitute and outcasts, and remember only the doubts and aspersions? Let us leave that for ourselves to answer, keeping the following words of Mother Teresa herself, in mind: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”