Women’s History: St. Teresa of Calcutta

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the twentieth century, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. In 1946, Mother Teresa petitioned the Catholic Church to let her leave the convent to which she’d been assigned to work among the poor in the slums of Calcutta—a new congregation which become known as “the Missionaries of Charity.”

It was just the beginning of her work among the poorest of the poor in India. At her death in 1997, there were more than 4,500 Missionaries of Charity, and hundreds of missions in more than 100 countries. Mother Teresa wrote about her philosophy of charity. Quoting Matthew 25, she said, “Christ said ‘I was hungry and you gave me food.’ He was hungry not only for bread but for the understanding of being loved of being known.”

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