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Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta

Posted in Anniversary, Medicine on Sunday, 26 December 2010

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Mother Teresa, famed for helping the poor of India. Illustration by Harry Green

6  January marks the anniversary of the arrival of Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, in 1929. She was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Uskub (now Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia) in 1910, the youngest of an Albanian family. She joined the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary at the age of 18 and learned English in Ireland before travelling to India and learning Bengali.

She became increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta, especially the famines of 1943 and outbreaks of violence in 1946. She began charity work in 1948 and, in 1950, founded the Missionaries of Charity. Her caring for the poor, sick, orphaned and dying was the subject of a documentary and book in the 1970s which led to widespread fame. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and, by the time of her death in 1997 her Missionaries of Charity was operating 610 missions in 123 countries.

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