The Fear Of Life And Death
Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, died on September 5, 1997, in her convent in India. She was 87. Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in Skopje, Yugoslavia, she joined the Sisters of Loreto in 1928. She took the name “Teresa” after St. Teresa of Lisieux, patroness of the Missionaries.
After a few months training in Ireland Mother Teresa went to India where she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 she worked as a teacher in a local school. However she was deeply affected by the suffering and poverty that she saw around her in the poorest areas of Calcutta. In 1948 she was given permission to leave the convent in order to help alleviate the suffering around her. On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an Indian Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.
The Missionaries of Charity flourished under her guidance and became a valuable refuge for those who had very little. The Missionaries of Charity now has branches in North America and other parts of the developed world. In inner cities they offer service to the homeless, and other groups marginalised by society.
Over the last two decades of her life Mother Mother Teresa suffered various health problems but nothing could prevent her from fulfilling her mission of serving the poor and needy. Mother Teresa was a living saint who offered a great example and inspiration to the world.
“Death wanders through our lives at will, sweet Death
Is busy with each intake of our breath.
Why do you fear her? Lo, her laughing face
All rosy with the light of jocund grace !
A kind and lovely maiden culling flowers
In a sweet garden fresh with vernal showers,
This is the thing you fear, young portress bright
Who opens to our souls the worlds of light.
Is it because the twisted stem must feel
Pain when the tenderest hands its glory steal?
Is it because the flowerless stalk droops dull
And ghastly now that was so beautiful ?
Or is it the opening portal’s horrid jar
That shakes you, feeble souls of courage bare?
Death is but changing of our robes to wait
In wedding garments at the Eternal’s gate.”