Welcome to Mentor Thursdays, where we explore individuals who are striving or had strived to become better versions of themselves.
Today’s mentor is Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
1. Saint Teresa’s Background
Saint Teresa was born on the 26th August, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia, and she is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th Century. She underwent religious formation at the Sacred Heart Parish where she developed the Christian virtue of charity and at aged 18, she joined The Loreto Sisters. In 1929, she was sent to Calcutta where she experienced profound happiness teaching girls as a teacher and a principal at St. Mary High School.
On September 10, 1946, during a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling, Saint Teresa received a vision of Jesus experiencing pain and suffering due to humanity’s negligence of the poor. In her vision, Jesus asked her to establish a religious community dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor.
2. What did she do?
Saint Teresa dedicated her life to serving the poor by establishing a hospice to support those that were terminally ill. As her mission started to grow, she founded the Missionaries of Charity with its primary purpose to love and care for those that had been forgotten. The order carried out its mission by supporting thousands of people around the world who had experienced terminal illness, homelessness, HIV and aids, leprosy, alcoholism and the effects of natural disasters.
3. What can we learn from Saint Teresa?
A. Start by loving your family
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” ― Saint Teresa
To promote peace to the world, one requires acceptance and love of oneself. How do we grow in love? We must first love ourselves and our family because how we treat our family shows how we handle conflict. By working through conflict with our family, we are able to grow in peace with ourselves and the people around us.
B. Make your PURPOSE bigger than any recognition
“At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Saint Teresa
In 1979, Saint Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing light and attention to the sufferings of humanity to the world. Not only did she know her purpose and donate $192,000 of the Nobel Peace Prize money to those who needed it, but she also cancelled her Nobel Peace Prize dinner and used the $7,000 to build homes for people experiencing leprosy.
C. People with purpose experience doubt and tribulation.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” ― Mother Teresa
Despite having a purpose, it was revealed in a letter, published in 2003, that Saint Teresa experienced a lack of faith and loneliness for over 50 years. Not only did the lack of faith make her human, but it also shows that even saints experience tribulation.