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Birth Centenary of Mother Teresa; Bellary City Corporation to Name Road After Mother

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altBELLARY, 26 AUG: August 26 is the birthday of Mother Teresa, a Bharat Ratna and a Nobel Laureate who was popularly known as the “Saint of the Gutters”. 2010 marks the centenary of her birth.

The Bellary Diocese will celebrate a Thanksgiving Eucharist at the renowned Bellary Mathe Shrine and thereafter, the City Corporation of Bellary will declare the road between Sudha Cross and OPD as Mother Teresa Road. The Missionaries of Charity Sisters will offer lunch to the poor on the occasion at their Home for the Poor.

Exactly hundred years ago Blessed Mother Teresa was born to Nikollë and Drana Bojaxhiu, of Albanian origin on 26 August 1910 in Skopje in Serbia as their youngest of three children. She was named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.

Young Agnes was deeply interested in stories of missionaries working in India. Hence, as a teenager, she joined the Loreto Sisters of Ireland. After a short course in English, she was sent to Kolkata, then known as Calcutta in 1929.

After her novitiate formation in the hill station of Darjeeling, Agnes made her first religious vows on 24 May 1931. She chose the name ‘Teresa’ after Theresa of Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. Later she made her final profession on 14 May 1937. Thereafter she was called Mother Teresa, as the custom was in the Congregation

As a young nun, Mother Teresa taught geography and catechism in St. Mary's High School, Entully, Kolkata. She taught in Entully from 1931 to 1948. She was a much loved teacher. However, she was often disturbed by the poverty surrounding her convent. The slum was called Motigeel in Kolkata. She was deeply moved by the misery and sufferings of the poor living just outside the walls of her convent. She always wanted to do something for them.

Mother Teresa found her second calling in helping and caring for these unfortunate people. While doing her retreat at Darjeeling, Mother Teresa felt strongly that she had a second Divine call, indeed "the call within the call" while traveling to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling from Kolkata for her annual retreat during which she made up her mind to devote herself to work among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Kolkata. When she requested her convent superiors to relieve her she was permitted to do so. She was allowed to leave the convent to carry on her new mission – to be poor among the poor, away from all the security of the convent.

She began her missionary work with the poor in 1948, replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple white cotton sari with three blue lines symbolizing three vows of religious life. In 1952 Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in a place made available by the Municipal authorities of Kolkata. It became popularly known as “Nirmal Hriday”.

The Missionaries of Charity, which began as a small Order with a small group of her students in 1950, soon began to attract both volunteers and young followers. Mother Teresa then spread the order throughout the world. With its first house outside India opened in Venezuela in 1965, others followed in Rome, Tanzania, and Austria in 1968. During the 1970s, the Missionaries of Charity opened houses and centers in dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.  Today they have about 5,000 nuns worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries.

Through her service Mother became a legend. Whatever she did, whatever she said and wherever she went became news. After about a relentless service to the poorest of the poor spread over five decades, she passed away September 1997.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II as ‘Blessed Mother Teresa’ in 2003.

Mother Teresa visited Bellary in 1973 and 1975. However, the Missionaries of Charity have been serving in Bellary since 1967, helping the spastics, the aged and the destitute.


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