Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born in Albania, in 1910, one of three siblings, and was baptised Gonxha Agnes. Her father died when she was 8 years old leaving the family in financial difficulties. Her mother was nonetheless able to dedicate herself to her children, raising them firmly and lovingly.
In 1928, Mother Teresa joined the Sisters of Loreto and was sent to Ireland to learn English. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In the same year, she was transferred to Calcutta in India where she spent the next 19 years teaching at St Mary’s School for girls.
After two years of prayer and discernment, and upon obtaining permission from her superior, Mother Teresa, in 1948, left the school to dedicate herself to caring for the homeless and destitute people she found in the streets of Calcutta. Her former students gradually joined her, and with them, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, an order dedicated to caring for the poorest of the poor.
Mother Teresa was noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, but there was another heroic side of this saint that was revealed only after her death. Hidden from all eyes, she underwent a dark night of the soul, where she experienced a deep feeling of separation from God. Despite this feeling, she dedicated herself wholeheartedly to His work.
Mother Teresa died in 1997 of heart failure after suffering much from several health problems during her last years (two heart attacks, pneumonia, malaria and a broken collarbone) all of which she bore patiently for the love of God. She was beatified in 2003 and canonised in 2016.