On September 4, Mother Teresa was canonized in Rome, and she is now known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the future Mother Teresa, was born on 26 August 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, to Albanian heritage. Agnes was the youngest of the children born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu. She received her First Communion at five and a half and was confirmed in November 1916. From the time of her First Communion, she felt her heart captivated by the love of Jesus and of neighbor.
When Agnes was eight years old, her father died suddenly. Despite facing financial crisis, Drane raised her children firmly and lovingly, greatly influencing Agnes’ character and vocation. Over the years, young Agnes grew extremely close to her mother.
At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Agnes left home to join the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In December, 1928 she departed for India, arriving in Calcutta on 6 January 1929. She made her first vows in May 1931 and was assigned to teach at St. Mary’s School for girls. On 24 May 1937, Sister Teresa made her final vows, becoming, as she said, the “spouse of Jesus” for “all eternity.” From that time on she was called Mother Teresa.
At the end of her annual retreat in 1942, with the permission of her spiritual director, Mother Teresa made a private vow of spiritual espousal — to be all for Jesus and to refuse him nothing.
On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa was given the opportunity to fulfil her promise of refusing Jesus nothing. She was traveling by train from Calcutta to a retreat house in Darjeeling. During the trip, Jesus appeared and spoke to her, calling her to serve Him radically in the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa expressed her fear of incurring ridicule, loneliness, deprivation, and failure should she leave her happy life as a Loreto nun and take up the uncertain life Jesus was demanding of her. However, Jesus asked her, “Will you refuse? You have become my spouse for my love. You have come to India for me. The thirst you had for souls brought you so far. Are you afraid now to take one more step for your spouse, for me, for souls?” Jesus said, “I want Indian nuns, Missionaries of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the poor, the sick, the dying, and the little children . . . .” Speaking of all of us, but especially of the very poor, Jesus had lamented to Mother Teresa, “They don’t know me, so they don’t want me.” Mother Teresa experienced the “Thirst of God” for souls. She consented to the request of Christ and each year, the Missionaries of Charity celebrated September 10 as “Inspiration Day”. The Missionaries of Charity began in the depths of God’s infinite longing to love and to be loved. Mother Teresa would often say that the chief motivation for the Missionaries of Charity was not to do social work, but to adore Christ in the littlest and weakest of his children, and to bring Christ the souls for which he thirsts.
Throughout 1946 and 1947, Mother Teresa experienced a close union with Christ. But soon after she left the convent and began her work among the poorest of the poor, the visions and locutions ceased, and she experienced a spiritual darkness that would remain with her until her death. Mother Teresa refused Jesus nothing. She accepted both his call to found the Missionaries of Charity and she the cross of spiritual darkness during the years of formation and development of her work among the poorest of the poor.