ON THIS DATE in 1928, eighteen-year-old Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu left her home in Albania (now Macedonia) to become a missionary. Three months later, the woman we know as Mother Teresa departed for India, where she would serve the poorest of the poor for more than six decades.
Just five feet tall, Mother Teresa established projects to provide care and comfort to the very poor and the very sick, orphans, lepers and the dying. In 1968, Pope Paul VI called her an “intrepid messenger of the love of Christ,” and in 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress in the world, which also constitute a threat to peace.”
Mother Teresa spent most of her years in the poorest sections of Calcutta, where she would die at age eighty-seven in 1997.
Her chief task in life, she once said, was to provide “free service to the poor and the unwanted, irrespective of caste, creed, nationality or race.”
Much of this information originated in an excellent obituary by Eric Pace of The New York Times. It can be found at