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Mother Teresa - Success, Religion and EthicsMother Teresa - Success, Religion and Ethics


Mother Teresa (1910-97)


Albanian nun (pictured right)

She helped the poor and sick on the streets of Calcutta through her order of nuns, the Missionaries of Charity, now operating worldwide (pictured right below).

Mother Teresa - Success, Religion and Ethics 

Why was she successful and ethical?


1. Purpose and love

She gave her life to serving God by helping the “poorest of the poor”

Her motto was “love until it hurts”, so she:

  • helped the poor with patience and empathy (becoming known as the “saint of the gutter”).
  • exposed herself to many deadly diseases like leprosy.
  • treated everyone as an individual with needs to be satisfied.


2. Silence and prayer

She prayed a lot to listen to what God wanted her to do.

Silent reflection also helped her to understand her strengths and weaknesses better, so that she was better able to help others.

 Mother Teresa - Success, Religion and Ethics

3. Lifelong learner

She constantly learned from reading the Bible and the example of others, particularly Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi (pictured right).


4. Humility

Mother Teresa:

  • put God and other people before herself.
  • was never arrogant and treated everyone the same, rich or poor.
  • accepted her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 to publicize the suffering of the world’s poor, not herself.
  • didn’t want the poor to feel inferior, so she dressed like them in a rough cotton sari.


5. Positive

She saw problems (however difficult) as “gifts” from God that had to be solved with:

  • hope and joy. 
  • hard work.


6. Humour with a smile


  • told a good joke
  • never took herself seriously
  • was always kind with a smile. Mother Teresa - Success, Religion and Ethics

When some Americans in Calcutta asked her for some advice, she said smile at your husbands and wives!

She is pictured right receiving the  presidential Medal of Freedom from president Reagan and his wife, Nancy, in 1985.


7. Action

She didn’t wait for somebody else to help the poor.

Starting in 1946, she went out into the streets of Calcutta, and did it herself.


8. Global citizenMother Teresa - Success, Religion and Ethics

She saw the world not divided by different nationalities, but united by everyone’s need for love.

She aimed to cure rich people’s loneliness and lack of love (the “leprosy of the West”, she called it).

She is pictured right receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.


9. Religion

Christianity guided her life, despite her:

  • perpetual contact with extreme poverty. 
  • consequent (and constant) doubts about her faith in a loving God.


Key quotes on love

Love until it hurts.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.


Key quote on society

The biggest disease today...is the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.


Key quote on abortion

Abortion...is a war against the child.


Key quote on peace of mind

Peace begins with a smile.


Key quote on family

Love begins at home.


Key quote on influence

One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. I do not agree with the big way of doing things.


Key quotes on God

God has called me not to be successful but to be faithful.

God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.

Let us do something beautiful for God.

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