Saint Teresa of Kolkata

Born: North Macedonia, 1910

Died: India, 1997

Feast Day: September 5

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St. Teresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje in modern North Macedonia in 1910. After joining the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the age of 18, she began a ministry in Calcutta, India. While Christianity in India traces its origin back to St. Thomas the Apostle, the area is predominately Hindu and Muslim today.

 

After twenty years of teaching at a girls’ school in Calcutta, she received an inspiration from Jesus in 1946 to begin a new order, the Missionaries of Charity, whose mission was centered on service to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, those who were held in low socio-economic positions because of their place in the caste system of India. Her religious order adopted a regional form of dress, a sari, for their habit. In the coming decades, the order furthered its mission of service to the poor, spreading throughout the world.

 

After her death in 1997, an examination of her personal journals led to a discovery of her enduring “dark night of the soul,” a prolonged period of spiritual desolation which is experienced as a feeling of God’s absence from one’s life. This spiritual darkness was a form of sharing in the sufferings of Christ and of the poor, an entering into solidarity with their experience of abandonment by society.

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Suggested Books

  • Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta (Amazon)

  • Mother Teresa: An Authorized Biography by Kathryn Spink (Amazon)

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