Mother Teresa was canonized in 2016. It was a fun time for everybody, most of all for Kolkata, her greatest beneficiary. Despite hoards of misguided polemics from her critics, her image and her legacy prevail. But if you look closely enough, you’ll see that some things about her were a wee bit sketchy.
Before we move on to the disturbing facts of this Mother Teresa story, it’s better to know a little bit about her first. So here are some Mother Teresa facts:
1) Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in North Macedonia. Nikolle and Dranafile Bojaxhiu were her parents’ names.
2) Mother Teresa was the youngest of three sisters, with two older sisters. She never saw her mother or sisters again when she departed to serve the Sisters of Loreto.
A missionary is a person who attempts to propagate their faith around the world.
3) She said that she had had a strong desire to become a Roman Catholic Nun since she was 12 years old. She adored tales of missionaries who traveled the globe to preach Catholicism as a youngster.
4) Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was Mother Teresa’s actual name. After spending time in Ireland at the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she took Mother Teresa’s title.
5) Mother Teresa spoke five languages fluently! English, Hindi, Bengali, Albanian, and Serbian were among them. This made it easier for her to communicate with individuals from all groups and backgrounds.
6) In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions to charity and the disadvantaged. She informed the Noble Prize committee that she did not want a lavish celebration meal. The funds raised for the event should be distributed to Kolkata’s underprivileged charities.
7) Mother Teresa was the Headmistress of Loreto-Convent School in Kolkata before beginning her philanthropic work full-time. She spent over 20 years as a teacher at this institution. She dropped out of school because she was worried about the poverty in the area.
8) Mother Teresa did most of her work for the needy and sick in India. She concentrated her efforts on assisting residents of Kolkata’s slums. The housing standards in slums are deplorable; most residents lack access to running water and basic bathroom facilities. As a result, infections and illnesses spread rapidly.
9) A large part of her work was dedicated to assisting underprivileged and ill children. She also established street schools and orphanages in Kolkata to help youngsters.
10) Mother Teresa established the ‘Missionaries of Charity in 1950. The charity’s missionaries continue to care for the needy and sick to this day. The organization has several branches in a variety of nations.
11) Mother Teresa was invited to lecture at the Vatican and the United Nations, among other places. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that only a few influential individuals are granted.
12) Mother Teresa, who was 87 years old at the time of her death, died on September 5, 1997.
13) She was given a state funeral in India, which implies the Indian government thought she was significant enough to pay for her burial and ensure that prominent government members paid their tribute to her.
14) In 2015, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church declared Mother Teresa, a Saint. This is known as canonization, and it means Mother Teresa is now recognized as St. Teresa of Calcutta in the Catholic Church. In Mother Teresa’s hometown of Skopje, her canonization was commemorated for a whole week.
15) During her lifetime and following her death, several roads and structures were named after her. For example, Mother Teresa’s international airport is named after her in Albania, the current name for the nation where she was born.
What Did Mother Teresa Do and What Is Mother Teresa Known For?
Mother Teresa created the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic women’s religious organization committed to assisting the impoverished, mainly in India, where she established several centers for the blind, the elderly, and the disabled. Nirmal Hriday, also called “Place for the Pure of Heart,” a hospice for terminally sick patients, was created by her in 1952.
1. What Was Her Early Life Like?
By Brandon Morgan / Unsplash Copyright 2022.
Her family was of Albanian heritage. At the age of 12, she felt the call of God. She decided she had to be a missionary to preach Christ’s love. When she was eighteen, she left her parent’s home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish order of nuns with missions in India. Little is known about Mother Teresa’s young life.
2. Mother Teresa Education
After being inspired by the missionaries’ work in Bengal at the age of 12, Mother Teresa stopped going to school and decided to devote the rest of her life to helping the underprivileged. As a result, she focused all of her energy on religious studies and never went to college.
3. Mother Teresa’s Nationality
Albanian, Indian, Ottoman, Yugoslav, Yugoslavian
4. Mother Teresa Awards
In all, she earned at least 124 awards, including several of the most significant and well-known prizes. These also included the Nobel Peace Prize (1979), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1997). (1997).
Now you know enough about Mother Teresa and all her work. I am pretty sure that you think of her as a saint, but here are a few disturbing facts that will make you think about her methods of charity-
Disturbing Facts About Her Methods of Charity
1. Most of Her Money Mysteriously Vanished
Critics across the decades have pointed out that the Mother’s homes were appallingly maintained. But hey, all those guys were white intellectuals who didn’t even bother considering the usual state of Kolkata’s hospitals. There’s only so much money the Missionaries had to work with, right?
Wrong! We discovered in 1991 that the amount of money used for the development of the homes by Mother Teresa paled in comparison to the funding she received.
2. She Didn’t Care Where the Money Came From
Among Mother Teresa’s top benefactors were professional criminals and corrupt politicians.
The most famous one was Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, an unscrupulous Haitian dictator, oligarch, and embezzler. It seems curious that such a blatant human rights violator would donate for the betterment of the poor.
But hey, who cares? As long as the money helps the poor, right? It’s not like the money would mysteriously van–Oh.
3. Not All Her ‘Dying’ Patients Were Dying
Mother Teresa’s hospice for the dying at Kalighat, Kolkata, was and is a home for the terminally ill. The Mother wished to provide comfort and care to the poor who were destined to live forever.
Wait, if she was such a proponent of comfort and care, why didn’t she anesthetize her patients? Oh, because the government prohibited the use of morphine outside hospitals? Okay then. Wait, why not use codeine then? Or better yet, why not take her patients to the hospitals? Oh, because it was too expensive? No, that’s a lie.
She totally had the money. The reason Mother Teresa didn’t anesthetize is because of her firm belief that suffering brought people closer to God. That’s why she reminded cancer patients that they’re “suffering like Christ on the cross, so Jesus must be kissing [them]”
This is the same reasoning that Himesh Reshammiya employs with a sick child in Aap Ka Suroor: “Pata hai beta, bhagwan ne tumhe aisa kyun banaye? Kyun ki woh aapse bahut pyaar karta hai” (Translation).
Twisted yet? Alright, alright, we guess suffering does breed strength. And her patients were dying anyway so why spend money on them?
Well, maybe because they weren’t dying. We don’t really know how many of her patients were terminally ill, because she wouldn’t let medical professionals check. Here’s a thought: instead of spending evanescent funds on missionary recruitment or codeine, why not use it to pay medical bills?
4. She Was Staunchly Anti-Abortion
Mother Teresa was utterly, resolutely pro-life. What that means is that she believed abortion was unacceptable under any circumstances. So, instead of using the misnomer that is ‘pro-life,’ let’s call it what it is. That is, anti-abortion.
Now, that’s nothing special for a Roman Catholic nun; it’s simply a person adhering to a tenet that she grew up with. But what does it mean to be anti-abortion for someone trying to fight poverty?
Does it mean convincing frail, malnourished women to keep their pregnancies even if it means risking their deaths? Does it mean burdening gulley rape victims with something they didn’t ask for? Does it mean imposing an extra mouth to feed on people who don’t even have the means to feed themselves?
Do Any of These Fight Poverty? or Do They Accelerate It?
Yet, she was stalwart in her conviction that “the greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent, unborn child.”
Also, she was against contraceptives. Yup. If that’s not enough, she regularly traveled first-class around the world. How’s that helping poverty?
Mother Teresa was a questionable figure. Read up on her and you’ll realize that she was more complex than you probably give her credit for. Did this work in her favor? Oh yes, all too well.
Did it work in favor of the people she claimed to help? This article implies that it probably didn’t. On the other hand, she did prevent slums from getting razed, picked people up from the streets, and fed the ones who would have otherwise starved.
Did she do it to deliver the people from poverty? Or did she do it to indulge in a romanticized notion of struggle? One in which you feed the poor but don’t heal them; in which you give them beds, but don’t give them life; in which you convince them that their struggle is a path to God. But hey, her Missionaries of Charity are still active today, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job. So, who knows?
A Neuropsychology and Computer Science major who currently seeks to advance neuroprosthetic and machine learning R&D. He also sporadically writes silly things, usually for blogs, online publications and his naively abstruse YouTube channel.
1) Neuroprosthetic R&D in India
2) Eliminating poverty in India
3) AI development