Bharat Ratna award winners in 1980

Mother Teresa – ( 1910-1997)

Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun from Albanian ethnicity. Her original name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She is an Indian citizen and founder of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1950. She served the poor, sick and orphans and expanded her charity throughout India and abroad. She was given the title of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta by Pope John Paul II after her death.

She was born on 26th August 1910 in Uskub, Ottoman Empire and was baptized on 27th. Her parents were Nikolle and Drana Bojaxhiu. Her father died when she was eight and she was brought up by her mother. The lives of missionaries fascinated her and when she was 12 she wanted to dedicate her life to religion and social service. She left her home at the age of 18 and joined the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary and never returned home after that.

She traveled to Ireland and arrived to India in 1929. She took her vows as a nun on 24th May 1931. She served as a teacher for twenty years in Calcutta and the Bengal famine of 1943 disturbed her. She began her missionary work for the poor in the year 1948 and started to wear simple white cotton sari with blue border. She became a citizen of India and started attending the needs of the destitute and starving.

Her Missionary of Charity was started on 7th October 1950. She opened the first home for dying in Kolkata in 1952 and opened Nirmala Shishu Bhavan in 1955 for orphans. She thought that suffering would bring people closer to Jesus and was criticized for this notion. She traveled to many parts of the world and extended her service wherever she went.

She suffered a heart attack in 1983 in Rome and lived with an artificial pacemaker after that. She suffered from many diseases like pneumonia, malaria, collar bone fracture, and cardiac problems. She died on 5th September 1997. She received Bharat Ratna Award for her service in 1980. She got Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.