Roman Catholic Nun / Humanitarian
Born: 1910 Macedonia
Died: 1997 Calcutta, India
Mother Teresa, born Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
By the 1970s she was internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, "Something Beautiful for God" by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.
She has been praised by many individuals, governments and organizations; however, she has also faced a diverse range of criticism. These include objections by various individuals, including Christopher Hitchens, Michael Parenti, Aroup Chatterjee, Vishva Hindu Parishad, against the proselytizing focus of her work; this included baptisms of the dying, a strong anti-abortion stance, and a belief in the spiritual goodness of poverty. Several medical journals also criticised the standard of medical care in her hospices and concerns were raised about the opaque nature in which donated money was spent.
Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.