Mother Teresa etched her name in history for being kind to those who were dealt a poor hand by fortune, and was a recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, on her 107th birthday, we are taking a moment to thank her for all that she has done for the poorest of the poor. Her legacy is still carried forward by Missionaries of Charity, an organisation founded by her. 

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work,” she had said, and indeed, we too would like to take her advice and do whatever we can with our limited resources for the unfortunate ones.

And it’s not like the rich people didn’t have her empathy. “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat,” she had said. 

So without further ado, let’s look at some facts about her that you probably didn’t know. 

At 18, she left her family and there was no going back for her

That doesn’t mean she didn’t love her mother. (Her father died when she was just 8.) “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others,” her mother had told her. 

She wanted to honour the manual scavengers by wearing a white saree with blue stripes

Manual scavengers are those who clean up people’s faeces from toilets or open drains. As of now, the practice has been abolished by law, but it still exists in various parts of the country. 

She was against abortion

Well, you might disagree with her on this, but Mother Teresa had very strong views when it came to abortion. “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion,” she had said. 

She could speak five languages

She was fluent in Hindi, Albanian, Bengali, English and Serbian. 

She doubted the existence of God

“Where is my faith? Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness … If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul,” she said.