Teresa was born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhin on 26th August 1910 in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia to Albanian parents. She was the youngest of three children. Exposed early to prayer and service, she was deeply religious. At the age of 18, she left home for Dublin, Ireland, to join the Loretto abbey and become a nun of the Roman Catholic church. After her training, she was given the name of Sister Teresa. Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto, were very active in India, doing missionary work. She came to India on January 6, 1929 to become a teacher and was moved at the sight of the crippled and helpless people on the pavements. She taught in St. Mary's convent school in Kolkata for 15 years later on became the headmistress. In 1937, she took her final vows as a nun, in Darjeeling. Mother Teresa became an Indian citizen in 1962. She has received many national and international awards in recognition of her noble work for humanity. The first award being Padmashri for distinguished service (1962), then the Magsaysay Award the same year, Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971), Good Samaritan Award (1971), John . F. Kennedy International Award (1971), Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International peace (1972), Nobel Peace Prize (1979), Bharat Ratna (1980), Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award (1993) etc. were some of them. In 1983, at the age of 72, Mother was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and her health steadily worsened.In 1990, Mother had decided to step down as the head due to her failing health and so called a conclave of sisters to choose a successor. But in a secret ballot, she was re-elected with one dissenting vote, that was her own. In 1991 she underwent heart surgery and in March 1997, Sister Nirmala a former Hindu converted to Roman Catholic was elected to succeed Mother Teresa as leader of Missionaries of Charity. On September 5, 1997 the 87-year old mother died of severe cardiac arrest at the Missionaries of Charity headquarters in Kolkata. The late mother taught the world the beauty in giving and left behind an enormous organisation with the will to continue her work. Mother was beatified by Pope John Paul II at St. Peters square in Vatican, on October 19th 2003, seven years after her death. Henceforth the mother will be referred to as the The Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.
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