Mother Teresa: It All Started With a Prayer
Mother Teresa. The mere mention of her name evokes thoughts of praise, admiration, and most likely, unattainable sanctity. Could we ever dream to reach her level of holiness? Honored internationally for her work with the poor, she has much to teach the rest of us. As the universal Church prepares to celebrate her canonization on September 4, a look back at her life reveals inspirational lessons for all in the primacy of prayer, the necessity of a simple and pure love, and a firm persistence in faith. Family Life Mother Teresa, MC, was born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, to a Catholic Albanian family in present day Macedonia. There with her older brother and sister, Agnes first learned about prayer, love, and persistence in faith from her father, Nikola, and mother, Drane, according to motherteresa.org, the official website. Family life held a sacred place in her upbringing due to the tumultuous times in which they were living, both politically and spiritually. Among Albanians in Agnes’ day, Catholics were few in number. As a minority, they clung to their faith as a bedrock of calm in a politically charged cultural environment. Many Albanians, Agnes’ father included, were clamoring for independence from the seemingly endless revolving door of political entities claiming power. Agnes’ mother clung to her faith, convinced that while violence was outside their door, inside their home the focus would be on prayer and love. Through daily Mass attendance and recitation of the rosary, along with outreach to the needy through surplus income gained from her father’s businesses, Agnes learned about duty to God and neighbor. At about the age of eight, Agnes’ young life changed dramatically with her father’s sudden death, perhaps through involvement in the political upheaval of the time. The family went from owning two houses to losing almost everything. After a period of despair, Drane carried on and opened her own successful cloth and embroidery business. Agnes and her sister excelled in their studies and were active in their local Catholic parish. It was here that Agnes first felt the stirrings of a call to religious life— specifically, a call to be a missionary sister in India.