Teresa of Calcutta: Serving the Poorest of the Poor

Agnes and her family lived in Macedonia in eastern Europe. As a child, Agnes eagerly read letters by missionaries from faraway places. She especially enjoyed the letters from Calcutta, India.

Eventually Agnes arrived in Calcutta where she taught young, well-to-do girls who knew her as Sister Teresa. Unsatisfied, Teresa searched for her calling in life. One day she decided to work with “the poorest of the poor.” When she conducted her first class in a public park, only five street children attended. Despite the hardships, she stayed with the work. She knew that God had sent her to care for these people who had no one else to love them.

Dressed in a simple white sari, with a blue border and a safety pin holding a cross at her left shoulder, Teresa became a familiar sight in the slum streets of Calcutta. She not only helped the poor but became one of them. She told the girls she trained, “We will pattern our lives after their poverty. We are poor by choice. We want to be poor like Christ, who, being rich, chose to be born and live and work among the poor.”

Few people have won the admiration of the world as fully as Teresa of Calcutta. Her story is full of twists and turns, unexpected good fortune, and heartrending decisions. But most of all, her life is alive with the joy of Christian service!