Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa of Calcutta , whose secular name was Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu ( Skopje , 26 of August of 1910 – Calcutta , 5 of September of 1997 ) [1] was one nun Catholic origin Albanian [2] naturalized Indian , [3] who founded the congregation of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcuttain 1950. For over 45 years he cared for the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the expansion of his congregation, first in India and then in other countries of the world. After her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II . [1] [4] [5]


[ hide ]

  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Childhood and youth
    • 2 His religious work
    • 3 Foundations carried out
    • 4 Awards obtained
    • 5 Depression
    • 6 Visit to Cuba
  • 2 Death
  • 3 Canonization
  • 4 Phrases
  • 5 Reviews
    • 1 Sociological research
    • 2 A doctor calcutnse against
    • 3 Terrible attention to the poor
    • 4 Friend of murderers and dictators
    • 5 The hierarchy of the church and the ruling class
    • 6 Pro-rich hypocrisy
    • 7 Medieval theology
  • 6 Sources

Biographical synthesis

Teresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje , a city situated at the crossroads of Balkan history . She was the youngest of the children of Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, received the name of Gonxha Agnes at baptism, made her first communion at the age of five and a half years and received confirmation in November 1916.

Her father’s sudden death, when Agnes Gonxha was about eight years old, left the family in great financial straits. Drane raised her children with firmness and love, greatly influencing her daughter’s character and vocation. In her religious formation, Gonxha was also assisted by the Jesuit Parish of the Sacred Heart, in which she was very integrated.

Childhood and youth

When she was eighteen years old, encouraged by the desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her house in September 1928 to enter the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland . There she received the name of Sister Maria Teresa (by Saint Teresa of Lisieux). In the month of December he began his journey to India , arriving in Calcutta on January 6 , 1929.

After professing her first vows in May 1931, Sister Teresa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in the city of Calcutta, where she taught at the Saint Mary School for Girls. On May 24, 1937, Sister Teresa made her perpetual profession, becoming then, as she herself said, “the wife of Jesus” for “all eternity.” From that moment on, she was called Mother Teresa. In 1944 she became director of the center.

His religious work

On September 10, 1946, during a trip from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa affirmed that she received her “inspiration”, her “call within the call”: she decided to found a religious congregation, Missionaries of Charity , dedicated to the service of the poorest. Two years later, on August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in the white sari trimmed in blue and passed through the exit doors of her convent in Loreto to enter the world of the poor.

After a short course with the Missionary Medical Sisters in the city of Patna , Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta where she found temporary accommodation with the Little Sisters of the Poor. On December 21, 1948, he visited the slums for the first time. He visited families, washed the wounds of some children, cared for a sick elderly man who was lying on the street, and cared for a woman who was dying of hunger and tuberculosis.. He wanted to serve Jesus in “the unwanted, the unloved, those with whom no one cared.” After a few months, her former students began to join her one by one. On October 7, 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. In the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began sending her Sisters to other parts of India . In February 1965, the Praise Decree that Pope Paul VI granted her encouraged Mother Teresa to open a house in Venezuela .

This was quickly followed by foundations in Rome ( Italy ), in Dar es Salaam ( Tanzania ) and, successively, on all continents. Beginning in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all communist countries, including the former Soviet Union , Albania, and Cuba .

She began to be revered as a merciful friend of the disadvantaged, with the help of Malcolm Muggeridge, a reactionary and conservative journalist for the BBC, who did much to enact his “miracles.” However, Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor but an apologist for poverty. [6]

Foundations made

To better respond to the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionary Brothers of Charity in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers, and in 1984 the Missionary Fathers of Charity. However, his inspiration was not limited only to those who felt the vocation to religious life.

He created the Collaborators of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Collaborators, people of different beliefs and nationalities with whom he shared his spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and his apostolate based on humble works of love. This spirit later inspired Lay Missionaries of Charity. In response to the requests of many priests, Mother Teresa also started the Corpus Christi Priestly Movement in 1981 as a “little path of holiness” for those priests who wanted to share their charism and spirit.

Awards obtained

During these rapidly developing years, the world began to notice Mother Teresa and the work that she had begun. Numerous awards, beginning with the Padmashri Indian Prize in 1962 and much more notably the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize , honored his work. At the same time, the media began to follow its activities with increasing interest.


The whole life and work of Mother Teresa was a testimony to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of each human person, the value of small things done with fidelity and love, and the incomparable value of friendship with God. But, there was another heroic side to this woman that came to light only after her death.

Hidden from all eyes, hidden even from those closest to her, her inner life was marked by the experience of a deep, painful and constant feeling of absence from God. She called her inner experience “darkness” herself. The depression – which the Spanish saint Juan de la Cruz called the “painful night of the soul” – began more or less when he began his endless and desperate work with the poor and continued until the end of his life.

Visit to Cuba

Sculpture by the artist José Villa Soberón in the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Garden in Old Havana .

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was in Cuba twice, the first was in transit at the José Martí International Airport in Havana , and the second in 1985, on whose visit she gave the then President Fidel Castro Ruz a carved image of Our Miraculous Lady in ivory.

On May 6, 2003, a sculpture of the nun was unveiled in the Convent of San Francisco de Asís , in Havana, framed in the park created in 1999, named after the nun and possibly one of the first of its kind. dedicated to the memory of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.


During the last years of her life, despite the increasingly serious health problems, Mother Teresa continued to direct her Institute and respond to the needs of the poor and of the Church. In 1997 the Sisters of Mother Teresa had almost 4,000 members and had been established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world. In March 1997, Mother Teresa blessed her newly elected successor as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, successively undertaking a new trip abroad.

After meeting Pope John Paul II for the last time , she returned to Calcutta where she spent the last weeks of her life receiving the people who came to visit her and instructing her Sisters. He died on 5 as September as 1997 , at age 87. The Government of India granted him the honor of holding a state funeral and his body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity.


Less than two years after her death – because of the spread of Mother Teresa’s reputation for sanctity and the favors attributed to her – Pope John Paul II allowed the opening of his cause for canonization . On December 20, 2002, the same pope approved the decrees on the heroism of the virtues and on the miracle obtained through the intercession of Mother Teresa.


  • Love as you can, love … love until it hurts. If it hurts is a good sign”. [7]
  • “I love all religions, but I am in love with mine.” [8]
  • “Give until it hurts and when it hurts, give even more.” [9]
  • “Love, to be authentic, must cost us.” [10]
  • “Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling, because when we forgive we no longer feel the offense, we no longer feel rancor. Forgive, that by forgiving you will have your soul in peace and the one who offended you will have it ». [eleven]
  • “The person who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.” [12]
  • “My blood and origins are Albanian, but I am of Indian citizenship. I am a Catholic nun. By profession, I belong to the whole world. By heart, I belong completely to the Heart of Jesus » [13]
  • “Jesus is my God, Jesus is my husband, Jesus is my life, Jesus is my only love, Jesus is my whole being, Jesus is my everything.” [14]
  • “Without our suffering, our task would not differ from social assistance.” [fifteen]
  • «I think it is very beautiful that the poor accept their destiny, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think that the poor man, with his suffering, helps the rest of the world a lot ». [6]
  • “The most beautiful gift that God can give a person is to make him participate in the sufferings of Christ” [6]
  • “Do you know that this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus?” (to a distressed cancer patient). [6]

JOURNALIST: There is a worldwide epidemic of something called AIDS (‘acquired immunodeficiency syndrome’), which is a disease associated largely with the homosexual community. Some religious leaders have suggested that AIDS is a God-sent disease as punishment for a sinful lifestyle. Do you think this is so?
MOTHER TERESA: It is the first time I have heard this.
JOURNALIST: Well, then, let me ask you the other way. Is it conceivable that God can create a form of disease against a lifestyle?
MOTHER TERESA: Yes, God could allow it to happen. God would not do it for Himself, but He could allow it, to open people’s eyes, just as the floods in the Old Testament [happened]. And very often, with suffering, this is when people realize that what they are doing is not right, and that leads them to ask God and others for forgiveness. [16]


Sociological research

Three Canadian researchers – Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard ( University of Montreal ) and Carole Sénéchal ( University of Ottawa ) – collected 502 documents and books on the life and work of Mother Teresa, to carry out their analysis, representing 96% of the literature about the founder of the WTO (Order of the Missionaries of Charity).

In the search for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for an ethics seminar, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of the most celebrated women in the Catholic Church. The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to continue investigating his dubious […] way of caring for the sick, his questionable political contacts, his suspicious management of the huge sums of money he received, and his points of excessively dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception and divorce. [17]

In August 2014, they published an analytical study – “Mother Teresa: anything but a saint” – on the work of Mother Teresa in the Canadian journal Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses . The conclusions simply endorsed all the testimonies provided by the journalist Christopher Hitchens in his documentary produced by the BBC in 1994 with the English title Hell’s Angel (‘the angel from hell’). [18]

A doctor calcutnse against

One of the most consistent critics of Mother Teresa was Arup Chatteryí, a doctor born in Calcutta but residing in London. He wrote the book Mother Teresa: The Final Veredict (‘Mother Teresa, the final verdict’) and was an advisor to the documentary Hell’s Angel (‘the angel from hell’) by Anglo-American journalist Christopher Hitchens , which he first exhibited in 1994 globally the dark side of the nun. [19]

Neither in the West nor in India does anyone want to hear about the dark side [of Mother Teresa], because no one wants to know that her icon of compassion, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, was a religious fanatic, friend of dictators, rich and corrupt. He asked the poor for resignation and helped them die, but without giving them professional care. […]
With that fortune he could have helped the sick to live better. The dying were not given any strong pain relievers, even in the most extreme cases, and the care was not professional, they lacked the most basic hygiene, they suffered torture conditions.

Aroup Chatterjee [20]

Chatteryí has ​​estimated that the donations received by the congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, exceed tens of millions of dollars. Dr. Chatteryí considers that Mother Teresa of Calcutta dedicated her life to expanding a fundamentalist Catholicism that no longer exists, and that proclaims the cult of suffering. [twenty]

Mother Teresa also led the Vatican’s global crusade against abortion and contraceptives. In his 1979 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he made an absurd claim, which has no basis in reality: “The greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child.” [twenty]

Although Mother Teresa only helped believers to get closer to their god, whoever he was, he privately claimed that he had converted more than 29,000 Indians who died at his center to Catholicism. In a video, Mother Teresa explains that she baptized them “so that Saint Peter would let them enter Heaven : it is very beautiful to see people die with so much joy.” [twenty]

Another of Mother Teresa’s critics is the American Hemley González, who in 2008 traveled to India as a volunteer

I was going to travel in India and decided to do social work. Mother Teresa’s brand is so strong that even without being religious, it was the first thing that occurred to me. I realized that this was a systematic violation of human rights and a financial scandal. […]
I saw how the needles were only washed with water to be used again and that the sick were given expired medicines. The volunteers had no preparation. One even fed a paralytic who choked and died. I was in the cremation of 12 people, some of whom I think could have survived. […]
Missionaries are not friends of the poor, but promoters of poverty. Missionaries could do much more with everything they receive. […]
NGOs require transparency and professionalism. Why not the Missionaries of Charity? Twenty years after Mother Teresa’s death, these nuns do more harm than help.

Hemley González [21]

Terrible attention to the poor

The quality of care provided to terminally ill patients in homes for the dying was also criticized by the medical press. Prestigious medical magazines have reported that – despite the generous funding from the Teresa foundation – these centers are characterized by their precariousness, neglect of basic hygiene standards, overcrowding, and ignorance of modern medical protocols and by a staff of low or no qualification. [6] Dr. Robin Fox, editor of The Lancet medical journal(from London), after a visit to the Calcutta centers in 1994, found that the patients were neither diagnosed with the diseases nor given effective pain relievers. He described medical care as “fortuitous, with unmedicated volunteers having to make decisions about patient care due to a lack of doctors.” He noted that his order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, which is why people who could survive were at risk of dying from infections or lack of treatment. He referred to the insufficiency of doctors, systematic treatments and analgesia. [22] Dr. Mary Loudon of the British Medical Journal, reported that hypodermic needles were reused, that there were poor living conditions, including the use of cold water for the cleaning of refugees and a poor approach to disease and suffering, since the use of various elements indicated for modern medical care as well as systematic diagnosis. [22]

These nauseating infirmaries were not intended to heal the poor. Many entered these centers with minor problems and left dead. These were places where the poor were brought to die, unable to pay for anything else outside of the rot of Indian capitalism. [6]

They also received their respective dose of Catholic proselytizing . Mother Teresa’s clinics did not even alleviate the pain of the dying. For Mother Teresa, pain is a heavenly reward. [6]

But Teresa herself did not practice what she preached. She received her medical treatment in expensive private clinics in California (United States) and Rome (Italy). [6]

Mother Teresa, belonging to the far right of the Catholic hierarchy, strongly opposed abortion, same-sex marriage and divorce. In his speech after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, he famously referred to abortion as “the greatest threat to world peace.” It seems like the only time she really cared about life was when she was in the womb. After that people were encouraged to die in misery and suffering. Receiving an award from the World Health Organization, he referred to AIDS as “the just reward for inappropriate sexual conduct.” [6]

Friend of murderers and dictators

Mother Teresa’s philosophy, which asked the poor to passively accept their destiny, was extremely helpful in keeping the rich and powerful in keeping the oppressed in chains. What could be better than teaching the exploited to embrace their lot in the hope of a better life in the hereafter, without questioning earthly injustice, and without demanding adequate treatment when they fell ill, but only seeking charity in a care center that was it in precarious conditions and overcrowded? [6]

In 1983, a factory of the American company Union Carbide, located in the city of Bhopal (India), exploded, causing terrible deaths and injuries in many others. This was clearly triggered by the company’s policy of saving money with security measures. Mother Teresa’s comment was: «This could have been an accident, it is like a fire that could break out anywhere. That is why it is important to forgive. Forgiveness offers us a clean heart and people will be a hundred times better after giving it. So instead of organizing to fight the American company Union Carbide, the victims of this terrible crime of capitalism simply had to accept their fate. [6]

Not surprisingly, Mother Teresa has befriended one of the world’s wildest dictators and received lavish donations from all kinds of gangsters and oligarchs. In 1981, she traveled to Haiti to be awarded the Legion of Honor by the corrupt and brutal dictator Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier . During her visit, Teresa remarked that she “had never seen poor people be so familiar with their head of state.” This head of state, so familiar with his people, would be overthrown five years later in a popular insurrection. [6]

She also received donations, titles and ovations of the stature of Ronald Reagan, who at that time was practicing complicity in the murders of Catholic Socialist priests in El Salvador or Guatemala . When Mother Teresa visited Guatemala in 1979, the dictatorship was carrying out a savage counterinsurgency campaign against the communist guerrillas and genocide against the indigenous population. When asked about his visit, his only comment was that “everything seemed calm in the places we went. I don’t get involved in that kind of politics. [6]

Teresa also received huge donations from gangsters and thieves like Nixon’s financial arch-conservative and adviser: Charles Keating, involved in a major fraud scandal. Teresa interceded on his behalf before the California judge who was prosecuting him, referring to this scammer as “kind and generous to the poor of God,” and preached to the judge about the virtues of forgiveness. The prosecutor in the case decided to send Mother Teresa a letter asking her to return the money Keating had donated, but she never received a response. [6]

Mother Teresa’s charity was notoriously opaque. Journalists’ requests to access the organization’s accounting books continue to be constantly denied. One can only wonder where the money goes from this charity (the tenth richest in India): surely it is not aimed at improving its deteriorated clinics. [6]

According to the Catholic website Aciprensa, every time Mother Teresa traveled to Rome, she gave immense dollar donations to Pope John Paul II. [2. 3]

The hierarchy of the church and the ruling class

Why are the apologists for poverty and exploitation, like Mother Teresa, canonized, while the true Christian fighters for justice and equality, like Hugo Chávez (against whom the Catholic Church maintained a permanent conflict and continually conspired in its against), or are Archbishop Óscar Romero (assassinated by Ronald Reagan mercenaries ) or Jean-Bertrand Aristide (whose government the Vatican did not recognize), despised or rejected by Church authorities? [6]

Pope Francis’s attempt to paint Mother Teresa – who was a sadistic religious fundamentalist – as a defender of social justice is cynical and hypocritical. But again, Pope Francis himself has a dark past in fighting the left-wing priests of Liberation Theology and in complicity with the vicious dictatorship of Videla in Argentina. Francisco’s demagoguery only reflects the seething pressure from below, as the Catholic bases are exposed to the current wave of radicalization and revolutionary ferment, and lose faith in the corrupt authorities of the Church. [6]

Rich-favorable hypocrisy

In 1996, the Republic of Ireland held a referendum on one issue: whether its Constitutionshould continue to prohibit divorce. Most political parties in an increasingly secular country urged voters to pass a legislative amendment. They did it for two excellent reasons. It was no longer considered correct for the Roman Catholic Church to prescribe its morals to all citizens, and it was obviously impossible even to aspire to a definitive reunification of Ireland when the large Protestant minority in the north continually rejected the possibility of a religious regime being implanted . Mother Teresa took a plane from Calcutta to support the negative vote campaign alongside the Church and its hardest-line supporters. In other words: an Irish woman married to an incestuous, abusive drunk should never expect anything better to start again; While, Protestants could choose between accepting the blessings of Rome or staying on the sidelines. It did not even suggest the possibility of Catholics complying with the commandments of their Church without imposing them on all other citizens. And this was happening in the British Isles and in the last decade of the 20th century. The referendum finally reformed theConstitution , although by the narrowest of the majorities. (That same year Mother Teresa gave an interview in which she said she hoped her friend Princess Diana would be happier once she had gotten rid of what was evidently an unfortunate marriage; but we should not be so surprised to discover the Church. applying stricter criteria to the poor and offering indulgences to the rich).

Christopher Hitchens, in his book God is not good [24]

Medieval theology

The rationalist Debasis Bhattacharya points out that Mother Teresa held a strange medieval theology: allowing the poor to suffer would allow them to receive forgiveness from God, who would have punished everyone with their illness. However, every time Mother Teresa fell ill (in India, in Mexico), she used modern and expensive private health services in California. For example, in 1991 – with 81 years of age – he became ill with pneumonia during a stay in Mexico, for which he traveled by plane and attended a private clinic in the city of Los Angeles ( California ). [25]

The first miracle that Pope John Paul II recognized him – the cure of a cancerous tumor to Monica Besra – was a designed lie: «That tumor was not from cancer, but from tuberculosis . Besra was cured because she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and treated in a hospital. ” [twenty]

One of the curses in India and other poor countries is the belief in witch doctors, who cajole the suffering by offering miracle cures. Humanity and religions are unaware of the golden rule of logic: that an extraordinary claim requires not ordinary evidence but extraordinary evidence, and that what is stated without evidence can also be rejected without evidence.


Leave a Comment