Mother Theresa is the foremost person I would strive to emulate. She is one of my most divine inspirations. Not that I could hope to even follow in her holy footsteps, but her words and actions call to me over and over again. They are so much of what the Quiet Cottage is all about – Inspiration for Your Soul.
According to The Prayer Foundation, this was found written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta. Other sources claim it was on the wall in her room. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. It’s certainly deserves contemplation, don’t you think? I love how realistic she is. No rose colored glasses for her, just reality and love of God lighting the way. Here goes:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them.
According to a biography written by Joan Graff Clucas, Mother Teresa was born SheAnjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu meaning “rosebud” or “little flower”. As a child she was fascinated by the work of missionaries. She took her first religious vows as a nun on May 24,1931. At that time she chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries but because one nun in the convent had already chosen that name, she opted for the Spanish spelling Teresa. During her tenure at the school, she became disturbed by the poverty and violence in Calcutta.
According to author Clucas, on September 10th 1946, Sister Teresa experienced what she later described as “the call within the call”. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.” One author later observed, “Though no one knew it at the time, Sister Teresa had just become “Mother Teresa”.
She began her missionary work with the poor in 1948 and then ventured out into the slums. Initially, she started a school in Motijhil (Calcutta) and soon she started tending to the needs of the destitute and starving. In the beginning of 1949, she was joined in her effort by a group of young women and they laid the foundations to create a new religious community helping the “poorest among the poor”. Mother Teresa wrote in her diary that in the beginning, they resorted to begging for food and supplies. She was tempted to return to a more comfortable convent life, but resisted the temptation.
On October 7, 1950, the Missionaries of Charity was started. Its mission was to care for, in her own words, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” (By the time of her death, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had over 4,000 sisters, and an associated brotherhood of 300 members, operating 610 missions in 123 countries. These included hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counselling programs, personal helpers, orphanages, and schools. The Missionaries of Charity were also aided by Co-Workers, who numbered over 1 million by the 1990s).
In 1952, Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying. With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying, a free hospice for the poor. She renamed it Kalighat,The Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). Those brought to the home received medical attention and were afforded the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the rituals of their faith; Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites. “A beautiful death,” she wrote “is for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted.”
Mother Teresa also opened “the City of Peace”, a home for lepers and and The Children’s Home of the Immaculate Heart, an orphanage for homeless children and orphans.
In 1983, her health waned. She suffered a heart attack in Rome while visiting Pope John Paul II. After a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after a battle with pneumonia while in Mexico, she suffered further heart problems. In 1996, she sustained a broken collarbone, a bout with malaria and further deterioration of her heart. She went to be with her beloved God in 1997.
There aren’t words to describe Mother Teresa and all she accomplished in her lifetime. I am in such awe and only wish I could have met her. She has many quotes and I’ll end this long post with a few of my favorites courtesy of quotations page.com.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
I am like a little pencil in God’s hand. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it.