Kolkata, Aug 26 (IANS) Followers gathered in good numbers to mark the 107th birth anniversary of Mother Teresa and prayers were held here on Saturday.
“Peace begins with a smile. Homage to @StTeresaOfCal, Mother to many of us, on her birth anniversary,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
At the Mother House, which is the global headquarters of Missionaries of Charity (MoC), candles were lit at her grave. From school children to residents of various homes run by the MoC, many gathered at the Mother House.
Born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje town (capital of the independent country of Macedonia now but then part of the Ottoman Empire — and then under Serb, Bulgarian and then Yugoslav rule during her early life) as Anjeze (or Agnes, more commonly) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was always religiously inclined.
According to a 1988 biography ‘Mother Teresa’ by Joan Graff Clucas, she was fascinated by stories of missionaries serving in Bengal and even before her teenage years, decided on a religious life. She left home in 1928 to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland to learn English, with a view to becoming a missionary, and never saw her mother or her sister again (her father had died in 1919).
In India, she was initially based in a convent in Darjeeling where she learnt Bengali and taught at the nearby St. Teresa’s School. As a nun, she chose to be named after Therese de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries, but because another nun there had already chosen that name, she opted for the Spanish spelling of Teresa.
Mother Teresa was the recipient of numerous honours including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and the Bharat Ratna in 1980. In 2003, she was beatified as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”.
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