In the Macedonian capital of Skopje, Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910. The family is supposed to be the first place where a child learns. Mother Teresa grew up in a loving, devoted Catholic household. Her heroic qualities can be traced back to her early years, when she was a child. Because of her parents’ good example, she is likely to be a good person as well. There must have been an atmosphere in the household that fostered both a deep love for God and a genuine compassion for others. Drana, her mother, would frequently collect food, clothing, and other necessities to give to others in need in their neighbourhood. This is how Agnes (Mother Teresa’s baptismal name) learned about compassion for the poor. Throughout her childhood, her family was involved in the local church, and her children were encouraged to learn about their religion and culture.
She listened intently to stories about missions as a child and adolescent. She was particularly enthused by accounts of the Yugoslav Jesuits’ missionary activity in Bengal, India. She left home at the age of eighteen to enter a convent in Ireland’s capital city of Dublin. She planned to study English and then leave for the missions afterward. Her religious education began in Dublin, Ireland, and was furthered in India. In Bengal, she was appointed to teach at a girls’ high school after completing her religious vows. She went on to become the school’s headteacher. She was well-liked as a teacher because she was adept at fostering both spiritual and academic growth in her students.
Observing her life, one may infer that despite her convent-school education, she was open and aware of what was going on outside the walls. One of the most essential lessons she imparts is this. Teachers and students alike may come to believe that the majority of learning takes place in a traditional classroom setting. To begin with, education fails when textbooks take precedence over life. For me, it’s critical that both educators and students have their minds open to what’s going on around them.
When students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to their everyday lives, they’re better able to learn. Littering and improper waste disposal may be linked to health problems in the future. While teaching and learning in public places, it’s possible that the same teacher or students will continue to hurl trash into the air. This is a stark example of how education has failed. If education is ‘opening up the mind to face the difficulties of reality or does it merely contain material that must be memorised and duplicated in order to score the greatest mark?’ this is an important question to ask
It was Mother Teresa who instilled in the Missionaries of Charity a deep reverence for all life, even that of unborn children. An estimated 200,000 women were raped during the 1971 East-West Pakistan conflict. Some ladies took their own lives. Many women wished to terminate the pregnancy of their unborn children. With these words: “The Sisters will take care of you, and we will find a nice home for the infants,” Mother Teresa persuaded them to give her their newborns. Pro-lifers should look up to her as a great example. To truly understand the value of life, it is necessary to put it into practise in a real-world setting. Even while Mother Teresa might have kept doing good deeds for the poor and sick while still expressing a pro-life viewpoint, she chose to go farther and do so when confronted with an actual, pressing need. The war had laid waste to plenty of human life already and she would not have to feel responsible for the potential victims of abortion. Her respect and love for life did not permit her to turn a blind eye to the impending genocide. Too often we see educated people displaying an indifferent attitude to life. It is sad that educated people sometimes develop opinions contrary to the benefit of humanity. Respect for life is not only seen when one chooses to save another’s life. That is an extreme situation. In a regular way, one can display a pro-life attitude by for example, showing care and concern for the sick and aged.
There is plenty that remains to be said but I will conclude with a final point. Mother Teresa is a shining example of vision, persistence and commitment. Despite having her life set before her, she was willing to respond to a need that she felt was not receiving sufficient attention, even though it meant losing her security. She dared to choose what is right over what is comfortable. Once she had established herself and her followers, she pictured projects that could foster a better outreach to those in need. Things never came easy for her. She had little wealth. Doubts, opposition and depression stalked her every step of the way. Yet, she never gave up. She was convinced that God had called her to fulfill a specific mission and she trusted that if it was His desire, it would somehow be fulfilled. She worked hard to gather the funds required to start new projects and to run existing ones. Her life is characterized by this continuous struggle to take the mission forward. Discouragements, oppositions, trials and failure are part and parcel of life. There is no point brooding over them. Once a goal has been set one requires to put everything one has into achieving it. Sacrifices will have to be made but faith and vision must never be lost. Persistence and commitment are bound to bring good results provided they are backed by a positive and hopeful attitude.