Contemporary Saints, Wisdom of the Saints:

Saint Teresa of Calcutta


Saint Teresa of Calcutta was born on August 26, 1910, in Kosovo.  She received her First Communion at 5 1/2 and was confirmed in 1916.  At an early age, she had a love for souls was within her.



Mother Teresa lost her father at a young age and decided to become a missionary when she was 18 years old.    She joined the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland in 1918. She became Sister Mary Teresa due to her devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux.   She left for India and arrived in Calcutta in January 1929.   She made her First Profession of Vows in May 1931 and was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta where she was a teacher.  In 1937, she made her Final Profession of Vows, becoming, the “spouse of Jesus” and taking on the name Mother Teresa.  She continued in the education field.   She was known for her charity and courage, her capacity for hard work, and a natural talent for organization.

In 1946 Mother Teresa was on her way to her annual retreat and received her inspiration, her call within a call.  Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life.  Over several weeks and months, it is reported that she had interior locutions and visions of Jesus revealing to her the desire of His heart for victims of love who would radiate His love on souls. Come be My light, He begged her. I cannot go alone. He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him, and His longing for their love.  Jesus asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor.

Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin. She dressed for the first time in the well-known white, blue-bordered sari in 1948.  She left her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.   By 1950 the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. Mother Teresa began to send the nuns to other parts of India in 1960.  Her work soon began to spread to every continent.  Mother Teresa opened houses in the former Soviet Union, Albania, and Cuba in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Mother Teresa’s life was a witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God.    She was a person of profound prayer and deep love for her religious sisters.






Mother Teresa shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice with the world.   In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize.  By 1997, Mother Teresa’s Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world.   Currently, her sisters reside in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the Diocese of Brooklyn at St. Martin de Porres, the Our Lady of Victory site.


Mother Teresa died in Calcutta on 5 September 1997 in Calcutta.   Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa’s widespread reputation of holiness and the favors being reported, St. John Paul II allowed the opening of her Cause of Canonization. She was canonized in September 2016.



St. Teresa of Calcutta was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: to quench His thirst for love and for souls.