She caught the world’s imagination. Her fame spread far and wide, not because she was a great politician, a theologian or great writer, but because of her rare character; openness and immense compassion. Rarely do people follow their callings as far as religion is concerned. This is what she exemplified, a person “who was led by inner promptings to enter a covenant, then to focus her life work clearly and exclusively to the poor, and then to her own religious community”. Indeed, her memories will live long in the lives of all people, and in the annals of history, especially those of the Catholics as she practiced the catholic traditions to the letter (Moore, 1989).The life of Mother Teresa will be discussed with close reference to how she exemplified the Catholic religious tradition
Mother Teresa history
According to Schaefer, (2003), the parents of Mother Teresa were Albanian. Mother Teresa’s real name was Agnes Bojaxhiu, and was born in 1990, in the present Macedonia. She had five siblings, and they had very comfortable lives. Even though the parents had everything in life, in terms of the basic needs, they were strict in bringing up their children. They were always keen on teaching the right virtues to their children. They taught their children to always be kind and helpful to the sick and the needful in the society (Guntzelman, 2010).
Though most of Mother Teresa’s life was centered in the church context, she never had any idea of joining the convent until she attained the age of eighteen. However, she was always inspired by stories which related to mission work and service. After she attained the age of eighteen, she joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, whose main purpose was to educate the young girls. After leaving the convent, she went to Ireland, where she started her work in the ministry. She had a rare self-discipline and unwavering commitment. She got the name Teresa from famous saints, Therese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila. She went to a high school in Calcutta, where she taught history and geography. According to her, this was her first calling (Guntzelman, 2010).
Her second calling was to serve the poor in the ‘streets of Calcutta’, where the poorest people lived. After getting the full consent of her archbishop, she trained as a nurse so that she could be in a better position to serve the poor in the streets and slums. Throughout all her life, she led an exemplary life of a Catholic faithful, as she demonstrated all the virtues that the Catholics are supposed to follow as dictated by the Holy Bible (Guntzelman, 2010).
Mother Teresa’s exemplary life
According to O’Grady, (2001), the Catholics strongly believe that all human beings were created for a greater purpose than their own enjoyment. All human beings are supposed to care for their neighbors and the environment at large. This is what God told Adam during the creation time, that he was supposed to be the sole guardian of the world. Therefore, man and woman were supposed to take the place of God as far as creation is concerned. The Catholics believe that they should act responsibly. When they do so, they are following the will of God. The role is to make the lives of all the other people beautiful through love. They have to combine faith and reason. Both of them have to be used so as to make the creation beautiful.
The Holy Bible in Luke 22:46 states that Jesus woke up the disciples when they were asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. He questioned them “Why are you sleeping, wake up and pray”. This is one of the Catholic beliefs as far as their religious life is concerned. Prayer is a close communication with God, and therefore should be done constantly. Mother Teresa was very obedient as far as this command was concerned. She prayed constantly for over twenty four hours per day. She knew very well that there is no single day she could achieve anything without depending on the strength of God (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
Through prayer, all the followers of Christ fall in love with him more and more. She demonstrated the real essence of prayer: that it is not only a make up of many words, but the desire and fervor which connect a person to Jesus. According to the Catholic tradition, prayer without love is useless. One is not supposed to make very long prayers which are drawn out, but rather, short prayers which are full of love. It is the responsibility of a catholic faithful to pray for all those people who are weak to pray on their own, like the sick in the hospital. Prayer should be a combination, of the mental and the vocal (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
This is exactly what Mother Teresa demonstrated throughout her life in the ministry. Despite the weariness of her days, she never omitted her prayer, finding it the source of support, strength and blessing for all her ministry” Guntzelman (2010). Mother Teresa prayed for all the suffering people in her life of service. Throughout her life in the convent, she devoted most of her time in prayer. Every morning, she would spend considerable time praying so that she could reconnect with God. This was necessary as her prayer helped her to touch the heart of God. (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
Mother Teresa left her first calling as a high school teacher and started working with the poor all over the world. She even forgot her family and dedicated all her life to God. When she went to Ireland, she never went beck to her family. She decided to leave her well to do family and led a very shy, quiet and lowly life. Several people described her as an ‘ordinary woman’. She worked with the Indian communities, where she even demonstrated her love for this community even in her dressing, as she wore a simple plain sandals and a white sari. Throughout her lifetime, she lived in a small hovel in Calcutta. Her love is further demonstrated by how she taught the children from the slums. Since she did not have the equipment that was needed in school, she devised creative methods of teaching, where she wrote in the dirt. The children as a result became literate. She also visited the ill and the poor in the slum families. She made frequent visits around the shacks, enquiring about the needs of the people (Guntzelman, 2010).
These actions were guided by love, which is a very strong Catholic tradition, dictated by the holy bible. According to the Catholic tradition, love is a virtue which should be demonstrated by all. According to Moore & Teresa, (1989), all people are supposed to “Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an intense particular love. Be kind to each other. It is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness”. The bible states in John 13:35, “By this evidence, everyone will know that you are my disciples-if you have love for one another”.
According to Mother Teresa, Jesus came into the world for one sole purpose, to bring the good news to the poor. He died for the sins of mankind. He came to teach the tender love of God. The greatest commandment is that of love. The first on is the love of God, where one should love God with all his heart, soul and mind .Love is a fruit which should be within the hands of everyone, and all people should gather without any limit. Therefore, people should always love each other in all their deeds (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
One day, as mother Teresa was working in debris, she came across a woman who was suffering from a fever. She was ill, so much so that she was saying her last prayers. Mother Teresa realized that she kept on repeating these words “It is my son who has done it!” Mother Teresa took the woman to her room so that she could nurse her. She tried to talk to the woman so that she could forgive her son. After a long talk, the woman finally agreed to forgive her son. Mother Teresa felt that this was indeed a genuine feeling of forgiveness. She passed away immediately after forgiving her son (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
Forgiveness is an act of love, as mother Teresa demonstrated by urging the woman to forgive her son. This is a strong Catholic tradition, which is followed by the religious faithful to the letter. The Catholics believe that Christ wants each and every one of us to love one another trough forgiveness, regardless of the pain that we have gone through. After all, Christ came into the world so as to rescue man from sin through getting the forgiveness that we deserved. This was a very great act of love, which should be followed by all Catholics (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
The holy bible has a lot to say in regard to faith. In order for all people to love, they have to be strong in their faith. Faith is demonstrated as “love in action; and love in action is service”. There must be a way to show love through sight and touch. Faith in action is through service and prayer. The Catholics believe strongly that faith without action is dead. Therefore, one has to demonstrate acts of love so as to prove that he or she has faith in God (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
Mother Teresa gives an example of a young French girl who demonstrated faith. She went to work in a home for dying destitute and came back to Mother Teresa with a lot of joy in her heart. She stated that she had found Jesus, and even went for Holy Communion after she found Jesus. She meant that she had found a lot of satisfaction through serving the needy in the society. In this way, she had demonstrated her faith, and revealed that action is necessary for all people. It is only through the acts of love that faith is demonstrated, which is a basic virtue for the Catholics (Moore & Teresa, 1989).
Catholics major beliefs
All Catholics in the whole world believe and profess one common faith. They have seven sacraments, which are shared by all people. They believe that the presence of Jesus in any situation is brought by the Holy sacrifice of the Mass. Additionally; they believe that saint peter was succeeded by the pope in Rome, and therefore respect him. Lastly, they believe deeply on the interpretation of scripture, and strictly following what the scripture states. All Catholics who follow these to the letter are considered as holy (Open Site, 2010).
Mother Teresa demonstrated all these characters in her life of service. She made sure that she had participated in all the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Additionally, her love to the poor and all the services she gave was a symbol of love. She also respected the Pope and all those who served under him. In fact, before she left the Convent Sisters, she first had to seek for permission from her Archbishop. All in all, all what she did was a real demonstration of the scriptures, which revolve around the greatest commandment as stated by the bible, love one another with ones heart, soul and mind (Open Site,2010).
Clearly, mother Teresa is a public figure who was unique, and will forever be remembered, more so by the followers of the Catholic beliefs and traditions. She is one of the people who demonstrated real Catholicism, which is purely based on the biblical scriptures, and considered works as very important in any individuals’ lives. Majority of the Catholics adore her, and that explains why so many convents and homes are named after her. She not only demonstrated the real catholic tradition, but also found a lot of joy in following it. The same way she was faithful to her God and His teachings, all the Catholics are supposed to follow suit so as to live self-fulfilling lives.
Guntzelman, J. (2010). Who was blessed Mother Teresa? Retrieved May 18, 2010 from
Moore T & Teresa M. (1989). No Greater Love. California: New World Library.
O’Grady, J. (2001).Catholic beliefs and traditions: ancient and ever new. Illinois: John F.O’
Open Site. (2010).Catholicism .Retrieved May 18, 2010 from
Schaefer, L. (2003). Mother Teresa. Minnesota: Capstone Press.