Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, on 26th August 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months of training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.
Although she had no funds, she started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.
On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Pope to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after.
The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics and famine as well as supporting refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the 'shut-in', alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.
Mother Teresa's work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions. Mother Teresa died on 5th September 1997.
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody: I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."