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International Day of Charity: Mother Teresa remembered on her 22nd death anniversary

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Sep 05: Mother Teresa's death anniversary is observed as International Day of Charity. Mother Teresa, known for her undying dedication towards the downtrodden people and who devoted her life to work for the poorest of the poor in the slums, passed away on 5 September, 1997, at the age of 87.

The International Day of Charity was officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012. This day also got support of the Hungarian Civil society with the support of the Hungarian parliament and Government. 5 September is selected as the date to celebrate the International Day of Charity because this was the date of passing away of Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa

Special masses and prayers were held today to pay tribute to Mother Teresa, also kniwn as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, on her 22th death anniversary. St Teresa of Calcutta was born on August 26, 1910 at Skopje in Macedonia. She died on September 5, 1997, a few days after her 86th birthday.

She was canonised (recognised by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016 for her contribution to the humanity. She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, a community of nuns with missions in India.

[This international airport was named in honour of Mother Teresa]

She arrived in India in 1929. She was a teacher at the Loreto convent school in Entally, Kolkata. Mother was said to have been moved and deeply pained to see poverty and suffering around her on the streets. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love, care and those suffering, especially children.

Mother Teresa's life:

  • 1910: Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, present-day Macedonia, on August 26; Baptised on August 27
  • 1928: Leaves home on Sep 25 to become a Roman Catholic Loreto nun and begins novitiate training in Dublin.
  • 1929: Arrives in Kolkata, becomes a teacher at St Mary's School
  • 1931: Takes her first vows as a nun 1937: Takes final vows as a nun, becomes known as Mother Teresa
  • 1946: On Sep 10, she received "the call within the call" to serve the poor 1948: Starts teaching poor children, opens her first slum school. 1950: Founds the Missionaries of Charity on Oct 7 with 12 sisters after getting the green signal from the Vatican
  • 1951: Receives Indian Citizenship
  • 1952: Opens first home for dying at Kalighat in South Kolkata. Names it Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart)
  • 1953: Shifts to a two-storeyed building on Lower Circular Road; it's now called Mother House, the global headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity
  • 1957: Begins her work with lepers for which her Order becomes well known around the world.
  • 1962: Receives Padma Shri from the President for her humanitarian work
  • 1965: Catholic Church grants permission for setting up missions outside India; the first opens that year in Venezuela
  • 1971: Receives Pope John XXIII Peace Prize and uses money to build a leper colony
  • 1979: Receives Nobel Peace Prize for work with the destitute and dying .
  • 1980: Conferred India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
  • 1982: Rescues 37 mentally disabled children from a hospital in besieged Beirut.
  • 1983: Visits Pope John Paul II. Hospitalized with heart attack, first of several.
  • 1985: Awarded Medal of Freedom, highest US civilian honour
  • 1997: Steps down as head of her order.
  • 1997: Dies of heart failure in Kolkata on Sep 5, aged 87.
  • 2003: Beatified by Pope John Paul II -- placing her a step from sainthood
  • 2016: Declared a saint by Pope Francis on Sep 4

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