Faces of hope

Mother Teresa's Life's work

There are times in our life when we are reminded of life's sad and tragic circumstances that truly touch us and make us feel compassion and a sense of need to reach out and help those suffering and in peril. It is a very sad state of affairs that so many live in poverty and there seems to be no relief from it even though agencies are working with these suffering people through the dedication and commitment of very special people who give of their time and their heart to do all they can to make a difference in the lives of the destitute and homeless.

The hardest thing to see is the vision of a malnourished child starving and with very little or no food to eat literally dying a slow and painful death as a result of starvation. It is one of the brutal realities of life and living in a world with inequity. It is a very real crisis that is faced globally and on a daily basis. There are many reasons why certain parts of the world are prone to poverty, starvation and epidemics. It seems unfair that there is such an inequity and unequal distribution of resources and financial support that leads to these social concerns.

When I think of special people who made tremendous sacrifices in their lives and dedicated themselves to helping the needy and destitute and lived their lives in devotion to others I am inspired by a woman who was a driving force in helping the poorest of the poor and in setting up missions and finding special people to dedicate their lives to helping the less fortunate. Her name is known the world over and she asked for no accolades or special treatment. She just wanted to help ease the pain and suffering of those who were in need. Mother Teresa was truly special in so many ways and she was a very loving and compassionate person who took it upon herself to help provide food, shelter, medical services and education to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta.

She served in a convent with the Sisters of Loreto after leaving home at the tender age of 18 years old in 1928. She had lost her father when she was 8 years old and she never saw her mother or sister again when she left to become a nun in 1928. Mother Teresa took her name as she was inspired by St Theresa of Lisieux and took the Spanish spelling of the name and she dedicated her life as a nun for many years with the Sisters of Loreto and later to missionary work and in helping the poor and needy. She took her religious vows as a nun in 1931 and she worked in a school in Calcutta teaching young children which was very important to her and brought joy to her heart.

When she was going on a pilgrimage during her years as a teacher she was deeply affected by the poverty in surrounding areas of Calcutta and felt it was her calling to help these people suffering and in need. She started her work with the Missionaries of Charity which she created with the help of other dedicated nuns based in Calcutta where she adopted her Indian citizenship and devoted her life's work from 1948 through 1997 in helping the poorest of the poor in Calcutta.

She spent the rest of her life with the people who had nothing and were in such desperate need and she managed to bring smiles to their faces and a feeling of being loved and accepted. She was truly special in every way and her life's work was recognized by the Indian government on many occasions. She was recognized internationally and her Missionaries of Charity grew beyond Calcutta to many countries throughout the world with the same philosophies and purpose in helping the poor and needy and restoring their lives with hope.

I always feel a sense of wanting to do my part in helping others as we all feel the need to do something to alleviate human suffering. When we read of Mother Teresa and all she did with her life in assisting the poor we feel inspired and realize the true meaning of human compassion and devotion and what is most important in life. As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family we must also remember the poor and do our part in helping provide food and a sense of hope for them and allow them the opportunity of enjoying a meal and a feeling that they are not alone. It is in helping others that we help ourselves and we become better, wiser and happier and we find a special place in our heart that makes it all worthwhile.

God Bless Mother Teresa and all those who give of their time and make the ultimate sacrifice to help the poor and needy. Mother Teresa died in 1997 but her Missionary work lives on in the Missionaries of Charity she started and the 4000 or more nuns that followed the call to fulfill her vision in helping the poor and needy. Following her death Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She lives on in the missionary work of others and is a true saint who made a difference in the lives of the poor. Everyday I am inspired by her legacy and all she did in her life and it makes me realize how we all should strive to make a difference in helping others in need.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Mother Teresa

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