Mother Teresa was canonized and declared a Saint on September 4th, 2016, at the Vatican City. Here’s a snippet from the event:

Saint Mother Teresa served the destitute in the the Indian city of Kolkata, then known as Calcutta. Few know the many challenges she faced to do so. What are the little known sacrifices she made to achieve this mission?

Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, The Republic of Macedonia, on August 26th, 1910. She was baptised as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, and was brought up by frugal means. When she was only eight years old, her father passed away. Though her mother was struggling financially, she always welcomed the hungry or poor into their home. This left a strong impression on little Agnes. In fact, by the age of 12 she was already inspired to join the missionaries who served the destitute around the world. At the age of 18, she joined the Sisters of Loreto, and then moved to India in 1929. The rest is history.

However, few people know the personal struggles of Saint Mother Teresa. 

  • While she was living a fairly comfortable life with the Sisters of Loreto, she chose to give up all comforts and live a life of poverty – in order to selflessly serve sick, abandoned and helpless poor.
  • While people were afraid to touch lepers or those with AIDS, Mother Teresa courageously served them and welcome them into her mission’s home.
  • Along with nursing the sick back to health, she ran schools to educate the underprivileged.
  • She owned only a few saris, and slept on a thin mattress in a small room in the Calcutta home of the Missionaries of Charity.
  • When people donated shoes for the Missionaries of Charity, she let everyone choose which they wanted, and then only took the shoes or slippers left behind. Often, these were too small for her feet, but she didn’t mind. As a result, this is what Mother Teresa’s feet looked like:

Mother Teresa’s feet. Source: Tony McGee

  • A few critics blame her for receiving large amounts of money through donations, but why should she refuse those who want to sponsor the costs of running her mission? If Mother Teresa wanted the funds for herself, wouldn’t she have owned expensive possessions or lived in a castle? She herself lived and died in simplicity and poverty. Everyone who accuses Mother Teresa of selfish motives, should look at this picture of her feet…she put others before herself, and didn’t even mention it until a photographer took this picture.
  • While critics may go on ranting, the truth is, the underprivileged and sick who were served by Mother Teresa have high regard, respect, and gratitude for her.

Yet, Mother Teresa always shared the mantra,  “If there is any purpose in your life, it is to reach out to the poor.”

It is definitely an inspiration for how to build our society.

Image credit: Wikimedia, Manfredo Ferrari