The birth Mother Teresa by a catholic refugee came along during a war period in Albania. She was born at Skopje in Yugoslavia and was named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. At 19 she flew to Dublin in Ireland as a move to serve God and joined the Loreto Sister’s Chapel, an order of missionary to nuns, and was baptized to Sister Teresa. For 20 years she served with the sisters as a teacher. Travelling on a train at age 38 one day, Mother Teresa discovered and came to a decision that her mission in life was to be a minister of the poorest people. She then travelled to start Sisters of Charity at Calcutta in India with the Pope’s blessing.
The Sisters of Charity under Mother’s direction served the hungry and the sick of Calcutta. Pouring food stuffs and affection to all who sort her help she soon became a local personality. A documentary profiling her efforts in Calcutta was released. Within hours, Mother Teresa had gained international recognition and termed as the modern saint.
With the blend of media coverage and kindness Mother Teresa took the opportunity to give and air speeches to people across the globe, a move that was intended to bring the attention of the world concerning the plight of the poor people. In 1979, Mother Teresa was presented with the Nobel Prize award as the world’s most influential person to the poor. This case saw her being recognized across the globe as a peacemaker and gift to the poor people.
She had befriended presidents and kings all over the globe towards her death, but in supporting the poor and the sick she dedicated most of her time. War-torn areas were some of the places that she went looking for people needed assistance. Drought stricken countries like it happened in mid 1990s in Ethiopia, she took her support to the people of those countries in person. (Meg, 2004: 145)
Things Mother Teresa is known for
"If there are poor people on the surface of the moon, we will reach out for them and give the help they require", Mother Teresa was quoted. For Mother's patients, fans, family and the entire world with knowledge of what/whom she was, she is remembered for her tireless duties and efforts to eradicating the suffering people. She gave special attention to the sick and the dying because she understood it was lack of opportunity that these people were in the positions they were in. In profiling the things she is well known for, it is clear that through the devotion of her time to finding solutions to the problems of the poor she was expressing her kindness, love and care to them, within which our remembrance for her lies.
To her religion and connection with God, she is remembered for untimely love she had for God and dedication of time in serving him through helping His people. In terms of Mother Teresa's personality, she is known for her even-tempers, calm nature and being peaceful person. These attributes of her personality led to her recognition as a loving and kind person, she would be welcome in any setting because of her personality and people turned to her for help not because it was her duty but because she had admirable personality. (John, 1988: 90)
When she lived a lot of things happened around the world and sometimes around and near Mother Teresa’s whereabouts. Some of the occurrences are seen as personal stories of hers during her period. While living in Calcutta Mother Teresa came across a dying woman who had her limps half fed on by rodents and ants. The woman had stayed on a pavement for days and nights. As a rescue plan for this woman, Teresa carried her to a hospital near the area, upon reaching the hospital she was faced with reality that the woman could not be admitted because she was past recovery and she didn’t have money for treatment. She took her patient and tried another hospital but all bore no fruits due to congestion in this other hospital, the woman passed away and Teresa was devastated following the death.
During the period when war broke out in Beirut, Mother Teresa took the responsibility of taking care of the victims of the war. One scenario she came across was a mother of two who had been shot twice on both her legs, Teresa took her on to her back despite the fact she was of a less body built compared to the woman, she carried her along to a hospital two miles away, at times having to carry the last born of that woman who was still a small child. (John, 1988: 108)
Contribution of Mother Teresa
Mother of the nations was a title given to Mother Teresa for being involved with the concerns that required humanitarian help; she was the God sent gift to the needy people. She did not select who to address and who to leave out, she had a mission of expressing passion and love to God's people. It was her efforts that restored faith to some people and others opted to live moral lives as a result of her devotion to God. Some of her established contributions to the society are as follows.
Calcutta being the place she went to help people, was one of the poorest places in the world at time, people in that area were faced by real challenges that drove them out of their minds, to their rescue, Mother Teresa dedicates her time and resources to helping these need people. It was through feeding and clothing the poor that mother was recognized to be the mother of hope. She gave hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry, water to the thirsty and clothing to the unclothed. In addition to this, she took these people from the streets and housed them.
Generally Mother Teresa was doing her work with three aims; expressing love to the people, teaching love and practicing love wherever she went to. Within this clause of love she was affectionate about helping the needy and teaching other people to love and express that love in terms of help and hope to the poor. It was not long before she gathered popularity for her dedicated love of the people and extending of a graceful hand to the unstable.
Mother Teresa in her attempts to reach out to the poor and give them the care she thought they deserved, she set up homes to house the needy, the homeless, orphans and castaways. Within this effort she also derived a way to keep the people focused in life by providing and encouraging people to train carpentry and related sort of work, child care, nursing, home management and community work. The efforts to teach these people were to enable them come out of those homes with knowledge and skill that could be useful to providing for them. In cases of these people wanting support for start up of businesses when they had accomplished the training and acquired skill, Mother Teresa would give financial and resourceful help to them, this helped many people to acquire a foundation in life, to benefit them and render support to other people who would be faced by the same problems.
She founded a colony for lepers in 1979 by dedicating the financial benefits that came along with a Nobel Prize she was awarded with. She fed the hungry and clothed the poor using the finances of the celebration that was to follow after receiving her Nobel Prize. Alongside the colony for the lepers, she also looked into the needs and sufferings of Tuberculosis patients by setting up clinics that dealt with TB. People with leprosy were outreached by services of mobile clinics and medical personnel. She established some of the biggest general dispensaries around the globe to help deal with the predicament of all types and restore hope to people with deteriorating health status. Having been born during a time war was prevailing in Albania, Mother Teresa gave special attention to victims of emergencies such as floods, epidemics, political riots and famine. It was her duty according to the call from God, as she alleged, to reach out and give help to physically incapable, financially unstable, emotionally broken and medically needy people. (Elaine, 1999: 123)
Influence, Power and Change by Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa’s influence was felt by more people than those who had met her in person during her life, it went far beyond the medical facilities that she had founded across the globe and past the hundreds of thousand females who opted to join her Sisters of Charity Foundation. The winning of her Nobel Prize and the news headlines that followed after her death, it is a revelation of what her influence with work and words had done to the people.
Her speeches and quotes were not all that special or even original but their simple meanings were surprising. Coming from another party, the same words would be considered extra ordinarily unacceptable. The messenger in her, spoke louder that the message she was passing through, a fact that touched the hearts of people. After all we could ask what courage would be required to address University of Harvard audience comprising of students graduating the following day. The secret of her influence was hidden in the power of her purity, this helped herb in channeling her energy to the purpose of living she was serving.
The only way to work through the challenge that Mother Teresa posed, is to adapt to being pure in heart. That is the only way that God will unveil the purpose of life He wants us to serve. Taking Mother’ influence for example, we will be able to deduce that change to other people is only vested in our hands, and presenting people with an opportunity for change can be achieved by pure hearts.
At her time of death, she didn’t have anything else apart from her rosary beads and what she was wearing. She was poor as asset and financial wealth was concerned. Having taken a poverty vow, she lived to it; the impact of her actions left her rich in terms of good will and peacemaking. Having been able to provide care to millions of people across the globe, we cannot state that she was poor. Her influence was immense, her power was outstanding and the change she brought is something to live by. (Alpion, 2007: 89)
Due to Mother Teresa's recognition of predicaments facing poor and sick people and reaching out to help them, she had accomplished her duties to certain recognizable levels. She was awarded with the Pope John XXIII peace prize in the year 1971; this was due to her tireless work in ensuring peaceful coexistence of both the well up and the poor people. In 1979 she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and she was announced the winner. The financial benefits of this award were used to benefit the poor following her. Other awards she received during her life time included: Pandra Shri Prize which came following her extra ordinary services; Templeton award for remarkable progress in religion; Jonaharial Nehru award for her involvement in community support groups and positive influence.
Besides receiving awards for what she had done, there are other accomplishments that showed her commitment to helping the poor. She put up nearly 170 homes for the poor in India. In the year 1950 Teresa founded Missionaries of Charity that was to address and reach out to support people in different ways. Up to date, fourteen years after her death, her examples and teachings are still followed by people in over ninety countries. (Schaefer, 2007: 67)
How she accomplished her work
Being able to pull through a life of devotion in serving without making any form of profit can be hard. Volunteering to community and society developed is challenging. Working for the world at no salary gain can be diver stating but Mother Teresa was able to pull through. The efforts she put in God’s works can be a good start as to how she was able to accomplish all that she is remembered for. Her devoted whole-heartedness to the work of serving people was recognized throughout the world, this allowed world leaders to be willing to fund and donate help to those foundations she founded to address the poor.
Through her speeches and spoken word, she was able to deliver people from their hiding places and into volunteering to help, some by joining her foundations and others by funding the operations. The growth of Teresa’s work is brought about by her relation with the world. (Elaine, 1999: 115)
Effect on others
Her effect to people was both through examples and through encouragement. Most people were inspired and continued to look at her as the pillar mentoring their work of volunteering help to the needy. She taught the world the values of moral behavior and love; it's through her teachings that many people today are involved with charity work for the benefit of the society. Young people today and back when Mother Teresa was alive, looked at her personality and changed their morals. Some would stop dealing and taking drugs, committing crimes to reforming their life for a better responsible living. In accordance to her kindness and love, it is learnt from Teresa that finding victims of circumstances and helping them, is a way of getting involved in their suffering.
In India, the implication of the Caste System and Untouchables saw many people suffer without help at the excuse that they didn't belong to a caste and/or they were untouchables. Teresa didn't care about those factors, she reached to deliver her help and in these circumstances, Indian people, though not all have learnt to help those who do not belong to their castes despite the taboos they are tied down on. Untouchables in India are seen as part of the rest, tribute can be given to Teresa for recognizing the marginalized crowd. Following her death, Teresa's foundations continue to exist and are in full operation, this affects the world in that her legacy, of helping and caring for the needy, still carries on with impacting the group of people requiring that help. (Kathleen, 2006: 132)
In leadership some degree of honesty is required, Teresa was no exception in influencing the lives of people she went to offer help to. She exercised honesty through the way she approached donors for assistance to administer her work.
Teresa was leading with an aspect of forward looking, for example, the woman with half eaten limps she tried to help, led to her devastation following her death, she was looking forward to seeing her get well. She always looked at things from a positive angle hoping to get the best for the person she was intending to give.
In an effort to reduce poverty in Africa she addressed a crowd where she inspired young women to join her Sisters of Charity foundation in a move to that would have helped Africa control population. This was a competent, intelligent and inspiring level of leadership that she well influenced people with.
Her style of leadership besides what she used in leading could be seen as transformation and transactional type of leadership. Transactional leadership relies on giving as much as you are receiving. Teresa used her awards’ financial gains to give hope to the sick and poor by providing clothing, medication and food. Transformational leadership is achieved by engaging others to a course though mind and heart. Teresa pulled this through by engaging the minds of people across the globe to realization of what the poor and the sick were going through. It led to her influencing people to put their focus on charity work. (John, 1988: 121)
Applauded as one of the world’s famous person to have ever lived, having missionaries and foundations under her name, I am surprised to learn that at the time of her death she owned nothing in terms of assets, land or even family, though the family part can be explained by the fact that she was a nun.