OPINION

Mother Teresa : Savior Or Exploiter?

April 03, 2006
Ray Grairo

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a Roman Catholic nun and founder of the Missionaries of Charity. In 1979 she was awarded the most prestigious prize in the world, the Nobel Peace Prize, for her humanitarian work. Her labor made her so worthy that, in reality, she gave honor to the prize, rather than the other way around!

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 to Albanian parents in Skopje, which at the time was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. (The city is now the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.) When she was 18, she entered the Order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto in Ireland. She trained in Dublin and in Darjeeling, India, before taking her religious vows in 1937. She took the name Teresa from Saint Teresa of Lisieux, the patron saint of foreign missionaries.

In September 1946, while riding in a train from Calcutta to Darjeeling to engage in 8 days of spiritual exercises, she received a divine calling from God "to serve Him amongst the poorest of the poor".

She served as principal of a Roman Catholic high school in Calcutta, and was moved by the presence of the sick and dying on the city's streets. In 1948 she was granted permission to leave her post at the convent and begin a ministry among the sick. That same year she became an Indian citizen.

In 1950 Mother Teresa and her associates were approved within the archdiocese of Calcutta as the Missionaries of Charity. The order was later recognized as a pontifical congregation under the jurisdiction of Rome. Members of the congregation take four vows on acceptance by the religious community. In addition to the three basic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, a fourth vow is required pledging service to the poor, whom Mother Teresa described as the embodiment of Christ.

In 1952 Mother Teresa opened the Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart) Home for Dying Destitute in Calcutta. She and her fellow nuns took in dying Indians off the streets of Calcutta and brought them to this home to care for them during the days before they died, so that they might be able to die in peace and with dignity.

In serving the people abandoned by society, Mother Teresa put love into action. Her spirit of giving inspired many to follow her, and her work eventually expanded to many other parts of the world. Today over 5000 sisters, brothers, and volunteers run approximately 500 centers worldwide, feeding 500,000 families and helping 90,000 lepers every year.

In recognition of her efforts, Mother Teresa was bestowed many awards, including the Padma Shri award for distinguished service in 1962, The Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Mother Teresa accepted all awards on behalf of the poor, using any money that accompanied them to fund her centers.

Mother Teresa was forced to scale back her activities in 1990 because of declining health. On March 13 1997, she stepped down as head of the order and Sister Nirmala was chosen to succeed her as leader of the Missionaries of Charity.

On September 5, 1997, at the age of 87, the best loved woman of the century passed away. Her funeral service was on September 13, 1997, the 51st anniversary of her receiving her divine mission from God.


We all know well enough that we are unique human beings, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as we are, will ever be put together a second time.
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#1
bharath
URL
April 3, 2006
05:29 PM


Why should you judge a life? Why can't you take it as it is. On the whole, she has been a positive influence on the people, especially the sick, the poor, the debilitated.

does it make her good or bad? who cares?

#2
Ambar
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April 3, 2006
06:11 PM

DrPolitics, thank you for reproducing the contents of my fifth-grade propaganda social studies textbook.

#3
arZan
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April 3, 2006
06:55 PM

DrPolitics,

I would encourage you to read all the links here before writing such sugary flowery fictional prose.

#4
Sudeep
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April 3, 2006
07:31 PM

I have just one minor nitpick with the post.. The title should have been Mother Teresa : Savior !!!! since this is what you appear intent upon asserting.

#5
Suyog
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April 3, 2006
09:54 PM

ditto Ambar.

Suyog

#6
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
10:09 PM

Sudeep:) With regard to the title, it has changed my title was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. May be a publishing bug!!!

#7
Vikas Chowdhry
URL
April 3, 2006
10:14 PM

DP - Are is this a satire? This sentence

"the best loved woman of the century passed away. "

is making me smell a rat!

#8
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
10:37 PM

Amber:) Thanks! File sharing at it's best.

#9
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
10:42 PM

Vikas:) Curiosity killed the cat!

#10
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
10:49 PM

Bharath:) Time will tell!

#11
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
11:06 PM

arZan:) Why Cook Someone's Goose!

#12
Vikas Chowdhry
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April 3, 2006
11:09 PM

And DR is forcing me to take out my American Heritage dictionary of Idioms.

#13
DrPolitics
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April 3, 2006
11:31 PM

Vikas:) What's with the AHDI...

#14
Lakshmikanth
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April 4, 2006
03:04 AM

Heh!

What is the purpose of this Dr?

Are u serious?

#15
DrPolitics
URL
April 4, 2006
04:02 AM

Lakshmikanth:)

I just can't believe the story's I am reading, I am shocked.... do you believe the Internet stories? If this is all true she has taken us, for the ride of the century!!! LK to be honest, I still like to think it was a bad dream... Wow!

#16
BangaloreGuy
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April 4, 2006
08:33 AM

Umm, maybe you should read Cristopher Hitchins' articles on her.

#17
Atanu Dey
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April 5, 2006
03:22 AM

Why bother reading stuff when one can mindlessly parrot the received wisdom (sic) from the main stream media?

Saint Teresa was the greatest rah! rah! rah!

She was evil incarnate (in my opinion) and her followers are dumb asses.

#18
deepti lamba
URL
April 5, 2006
03:34 AM

Having studied under nuns all my life and then worked with them I know for a fact how much they suck up to the Papacy. The Pope is after all next to god and Rome is the Catholic Mecca.

The school I taught in did a lot of tax evasion by keeping new teachers on probation for two years after which they would get their employment papers. It happened to me , so it comes as no big surprise that Teresa (a nun married to Jesus) was pumping money back to Rome.

Point is why put them on pedestals if only to tear them down.

Wont matter to her now and one more saint? Big deal ...maybe they should make Princess D a saint too ...she was pretty, did her charity, called the whole royal family cold lizards and died on the same day as Teresa ;)

#19
DrPolitics
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April 5, 2006
10:53 AM

Deepti:) My mind boggles on this MT issue.

#20
gosami
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April 5, 2006
11:00 AM

the title turns out to be misleading after reading the post completely. i had expected a sort of comparision of different opinions about MT's life, but it was a one sided story in the end.

#21
Ashish
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April 5, 2006
11:36 AM

What's with the "Exploiter" part of title? There is content in writing to indicate that.

#22
Aaman
URL
April 5, 2006
11:41 AM

The title was an editorial decision, and related to some internal discussions within the writers whether MT was one or the other.

#23
Atanu Dey
URL
April 5, 2006
10:54 PM

"DrPolitics"?

Shouldn't this guy's (or gal's) name be "DrHackneyedClichesAreUs"? (see comments #8,9, 10).

I think the cliches go along with the lack of originality in thinking as evidenced by the article which is an unimaginative regurgitation of the usual tripe dished out by the media.

#24
DrPolitics
URL
April 6, 2006
02:22 AM

Atanu:) I don't give a hoot!

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