Mother Teresa Hagiography
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Bojaxhiu in 1910 in Üsküb, Kosovo, where her father was a successful merchant. While little is known of her early life, she recounted that she felt a vocation to help the poor from the age of 12. At 18, the Vatican granted Teresa permission to join the Sisters of Loreto in Calcutta. From 1930 to 1948 she taught geography and catechism at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, becoming its principal in 1944. In 1946, by her own account, she received a calling from God "to serve Him among the poorest of the poor." In 1948, she left the school and began her missionary work. By 1950, Mother Teresa founded her own order, the Missionaries of Charity. The order soon began to attract recruits and charitable donations, and by the 1960s had opened hospices, orphanages and leper houses all over India. In 1965, Pope Paul VI granted Mother Teresa's request to expand her order to other countries. It started to rapidly grow, with new homes opening all over the globe. By the early 1970s, Mother Teresa had become an international celebrity. She was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1973, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1980. Made an Honorary Citizen of the United States in 1996 (one of only six), she was later beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003. Mother Teresa was the first and only person to be featured on an Indian postage stamp while still alive. At the time of her death in 1997, Missionaries of Charity had over 4,000 sisters and more than 100,000 volunteers, operating 610 missions in 123 countries.