Mother Teresa’s Enduring Message for the International Community Today
On 4 September 2016 in Rome, Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint. In celebration of this event, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, together with ADF International, hosted an exhibition dedicated to her words, witness, and works at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The week-long exhibition culminated with a conference, featuring an international array of speakers, including some of those closest to her. They focused on aspects of her life and work, such as caring for the poorest of the poor, advocating for peace, and leaving no one behind.
About Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia in 1910, felt her calling to religious life at the age of 12. At 18 years old, she travelled to Dublin, Ireland, to join the Sisters of Loreto and was given the name Sister Mary Teresa.
In 1929 Sister Mary Teresa was sent to Darjeeling, India, for religious training and soon started teaching at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls in Calcutta where she spent 19 years educating girls from the city’s poorest Bengali families. But in 1946 on a train from Calcutta to the Himalaya region, she experienced a ‘call within a call’ to devote her life to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. A year later she left the school to begin caring for the ‘unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.’
In 1950 Mother Teresa’s order the Missionaries of Charity received official recognition form the Catholic Church. By the time of her death in 1997 the order numbered more than 4,000 sisters with 600 foundations in 123 countries. In 1979 Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1985 spoke at the United Nations of the 40th Anniversary of the General Assembly, where Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar stressed her importance for the United Nations and the international community as he called her ‘most powerful woman in the world’ and added, ‘She is the United Nations. She is peace in the world.’ On 4 September 2016, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was declared a saint by the Catholic Church.