Today marks the 22nd death anniversary of Saint Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the poor and the downtrodden.

The Nobel prize winner died from a heart attack on Sept 5, 1997, aged 87.

Every year, her devotees gather at her gravesite in Kolkata, India for special thanksgiving masses and prayer sessions, where they lay flowers, offer candles and sing hymns.

This year, a prayer meeting was conducted in her memory, at her residence in Kolkata.

The United Nations (UN) also chose Sept 5 as the International Day of Charity to commemorate Teresa's passing.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to a family of ethnic Albanians i Skopje, North Macedonia, in 1910, Teresa left home at the age of 18 and later joined the 'Sisters of Loreto' religious congregation in Ireland, before moving to India in the late 1920s.

In India, she taught history and geography for 15 years at the Calcutta St.Mary's High School.

In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation dedicated to serve "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."

Starting off a small community with 12 members, Missionaries of Charity today operates over 600 mission across 133 countries.

When Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work in overcoming poverty and distress in the world, Teresa refused the honour banquet and requested the US$192,000 prize money to be used to help the poor in India instead.

Her work did not come without its fair share of criticism.

The quality of medical care given to patients at her hospices was called into question, including one that involves reusing needles by just rinsing them with warm water.

Baptizing dying patients also gave raise to charges of forced conversions.

Teresa was also criticized for her staunch opposition of abortion and birth control, and there were also those who questioned where the billions donated to her cause went.

She was canonized (declared a saint) in 2016, about 20 years after her passing.

Amid the criticisms, it is undeniable that Teresa has left an indelible mark in the hearts of millions of people around the world and will be continued to remembered and worshipped for many more years to come.

Source: Wikipedia,,, indiatoday
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