Mother Teresa was a wonderful woman and a great influence on the world today. She was born in 1910 in Macedonia with the name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was born into a family of deeply religious Catholics. Agnes felt she got the calling to work for God at the young age of fourteen. She joined the Loreto order and went to Bengal, India, to start her studies. In 1937, Agnes took her final vows to become a nun and has done much great work in the world since. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on August 27, 1910 to Nikola and Drana Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia. Drana and Nikola were Albanian and both were very deeply religious Roman Catholics. Nikola was a popular merchant and a partner to an Italian merchant. He owned several houses and was a member of the Skopje town council. Whenever Agnes’ father would return from a trip, he would always bring his children presents. Also, he promoted his daughters’ education, which was uncommon in that time period. Nikola also was involved in an underground organization that worked to gain independence for the Albanians from the Ottoman Turks, who ruled Macedonia around the time Agnes was born. Agnes grew up around much fighting.
When she was born, there were Albanian protests against the Turkish government. When she was two, she witnessed the First Balkan War. In that war, the Ottomans were defeated, but Macedonia was divided among the conquerors: Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegero, and Serbia. The city of Skopje was distributed to Serbia. Albania received its independence in 1912, but Nikola continued his nationalist work. He joined a movement determined to incorporate Serbia into the Albanian nation. In 1914, when Agnes was only four years old, World War I began. In 1918, her father was killed. Some people believe that he was poisoned by enemies. Many people mourned his death because of his kindness and generosity. Drana Bojaxhiu and the family were left with little money and no means of income.
Drana worked hard to provide for her family. To get enough money, she became a dressmaker. Even though she had to work extra hard to make ends meet, Drana still found time and money to give to the lonely. When Agnes was young, she used to go on trips with her mother to visit the elderly, sick, and the poor. It is said that their mother’s generosity may have had the greatest influence on Agnes, her sister, and her brother. Agnes was the youngest of the three children. Her older brother was named Lazar and her older sister was Aga. Aga was five years older than Agnes.
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Agnes loved reading books, saying prayers, and thinking. She also liked to sing and write poems about her faith. Agnes learned her faith from her mother. There was a sign in the front room of their house that read: In this house, no one must speak against another. Drana passed down to her children many values. She believed that the Lord’s work was reward enough in itself and that you should serve God in a practical, helpful way. Agnes had thought about being a teacher when she was younger, but at the age of twelve, she knew she wanted to lead a religious life.
When Agnes was only fourteen, she knew she wanted to be a missionary nun. At age eighteen, Agnes joined the Loreto order of nuns. In September of 1928, she left her family and everything she knew to serve God at the Loreto Abbey in Dublin Ireland. There, she learned how to speak English. In November, she went to India to teach English in an Indian school. In 1929, Agnes started her novitiate in an Abbey in Darjeeling, and abbey in the foothills of the Himalayas. A novitiate is the time a nun spends studying, praying, and contemplating before she takes her vows. On May 24, 1931, Agnes took her first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. She took her name after St. Therese, the patron saint of missionaries. On May 14, 1937, Teresa took her final vows, promising to serve God for the rest of her life.
Teresa eventually became the principal of Loreto Entally, a school in Entally (a district
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