Radhanath Swami Talks about Mother Teresa
In my many travels, I had the honor of meeting some wonderful people, but one of my favorites of all time was Mother Teresa, the most dedicated advocate for underserved people I have ever met.
Born in 1920 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun. She held citizenship in India and came from Albanian roots. In 1950, she founded her famous Missionaries of Charity. For the next four decades, Mother Teresa worked tirelessly to aid people with life-threatening illnesses, without economic funds, or without family, and she expanded her missionaries to other parts of India and, eventually, to other countries. By 1990, Mother Teresa operated missionaries in 123 countries and included facilities for those people with tuberculosis, leprosy, blindness, alcohol dependency, and HIV/AIDS. In addition, many of the 610 missions help people through soup kitchens, orphanages, schools, and counseling programs. Refugees, people with disabilities, people of limited income or without homes, and victims of natural disasters all flocked to Mother Teresa’s missionaries for help and guidance.
Among her countless accomplishments, Mother Teresa was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1980, India’s highest honor for citizens. In 1979, she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa founded many other organizations, including the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests in 1981, and the Missionaries of Charity Fathers in 1984.
Mother Teresa died in 1997 and received a state funeral from the Indian government, which acknowledged her huge contributions to people in need in India. Pope John Paul II bestowed the name Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta upon her shortly after her death.