March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 is International Women’s Day, when the great women of our times, as well as their contribution to society are remembered.
March 8 has been celebrated by the United Nations since 1975. In some parts of the world, protests are organised on that day, and in other parts of the world, womanhood is acclaimed.
Among many great and important women, Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was one of the most charitable and inspirational women to be remembered.
As a Roman Catholic nun, Mother Teresa, also known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, devoted her life to the service of the impoverished all around the world.
For a long period of time, she remained in Calcutta, India, where she founded a religious congregation dedicated to reaching out to the destitute, which took the name of the Missionaries of Charity.
The 1979 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa, and she became a symbol of charitable humanitarian work, as she always put the neighbour’s needs before her own. Later in 2016, she was canonised by Pope Francis as Saint Teresa.
At the age of twelve, she joined the Loreto nuns and moved to Darjeeling, India when she was eighteen years old. Then, she taught at a school named St. Mary’s, which was run by the nuns.
She could have stayed comfortably as the headmistress of St. Mary’s, but she chose to answer God’s calling: to leave her comfort zone and to serve the poor. For her vocation, Mother Teresa knew she had a heart for children, so she went straight to them.
Her work expanded globally. As of 2013, there were already 700 missions existing in more than 130 nations. Their work also grew to a scale that included orphanages and homes for the dying, a space where the dying could die with dignity.
A famous quote from Mother Teresa is: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Other well-known sayings of hers include “Intense love does not measure; it just gives”, and “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Other awards granted to Mother Teresa include the first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), the Nehru Prize “for the promotion of international peace and understanding” (1972), the States Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985), and the Honorary Citizenship of the United States (1996).
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa
Although it has been more than a decade since Mother Teresa has passed away, she will forever be remembered as a great woman who prays ceaselessly, and who never gives up on loving her neighbours.
By Yvonne Y. F. Kelle