Who was Mother Teresa? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Mother Teresa.

  • Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun, who worked in India but was born in Albania. She is famous for helping the poor, the starving and other unfortunate people.
  • She was born in 1910 in Macedonia and was fascinated at an early age by stories of missionaries. At the age of 12, she had decided to lead an entirely religious life.

  • Mother Teresa became a nun at age 18 and first travelled to Ireland for religious study and then went to India. She took her vows in 1931 and never saw her mother again after that.
  • She founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, with the blessing of the Pope. She opened the first Home for the Dying in Calcutta, India, 2 years later.
  • By 1997, the Missionaries of Charity had grown to over 4,000 members, with hospitals and orphanages around the world. The order helped millions of suffering people in India and elsewhere.
  • During the 1982 Siege of Beirut, Mother Teresa rescued almost 40 children from a hospital, by negotiating a cease fire. She evacuated the trapped patients by travelling through the war zone.
  • In 1991 she had a pacemaker fitted to regulate her heartbeat and she offered to give up her position as the head of her charity. However, the other sisters took a secret ballot and voted that she stay.
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa meets Ronald Reagan at the White House.
  • She has received many awards for her charity and humanitarian work, including the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1979. She has also been voted the world’s most admired woman several times.
  • Mother Teresa died in 1997, with thousands of people attending her funeral. The Vatican started the 4 step process towards having her declared a saint, or canonized.
  • She has had several roads and buildings named after her, as well as Albania’s main airport. Indian Railways also named a train after her.
  • Mother Teresa’s work was quite heavily criticised in the press towards the end of her lifetime. Several documentaries and articles highlighted poor conditions in some of her orphanages. The standard of medical care in her Homes for the Dying has also been questioned by the British Medical Journal, particularly the policy not to use strong painkillers, the reuse of hypodermic needles and the insistence that all patients receive cold baths.