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Mother Teresa

Mother TeresaNikola and Dranafile were Albanians. They originally belonged to the city of Prizren, which was then a part of Yugoslavia. Nikola was a famous merchant and entrepreneur. He settled with his family in the town of Skopje, Serbia. He was a strict disciplinarian and an important figure in Skopje’s civic life. He was a man with charitable disposition and never refused the poor.

Dranafile was a deeply religious, generous and devoted housewife. She too had a family background of merchants and landowners. She was an affectionate and strong-willed woman, widely respected for her values, wisdom and generosity. The children, called their mother ‘Nanaloke’- ‘Nana’ meaning ‘Mother’, and ‘loke’ meaning the soul; ‘the mother of my soul’.

In the year, 1904, Dranafile gave birth to their first child. She was a beautiful baby girl and they named her Aga. Aga was a religious and intelligent girl. She had keen interest in singing, composition and playing instruments.

Lazar, their second child was born in 1907. He was sporty, good-looking and youthful. At a very young age he had won a scholarship to study in Austria.

On August 26, 1910 Dranafile gave birth to her third child in Skopje (Shkup), capital of the Kosava vilayet (province), Serbia. She was the youngest child of the family. She was christened Agnes-Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 27, 1910. The family was very religious and they were very God-fearing. They went to the church on every Sunday and when both the sisters grew up they used to sing in the church choir and were known as the church’s two ‘nightingales’

The year, 1910, in which Agnes was born, Albania faced great political disturbance. Two years later (1912), the First Balkan War broke out. It was followed by the First World War. During this period, her family suffered a lot. Agnes was only two years old when Albania got its independence in 1912.

CHILDHOOD

Agnes’ childhood was comfortable and prosperous. She lived in a large house with a spacious garden having number of fruit trees.

She was a plump, round and a tidy child. She was the youngest and the favorite child of the family.

Her early education was at the Sacred Heart Church. She was a bit different from children of the same age group being more intelligent, sensible and matured. She was very famous among her female friends. She had a great sense of humor though she was shy of boys and avoided their company.

They were one happy family and lived a well-contended life. But fate had something else for them.

In 1919, Nikola left home for Belgrade to join a political meeting. While leaving he was in a good health and spirit. But he returned with a haemorrhage. The family took him to a local hospital but all kinds of emergency surgery failed to save his life. He died at a very young age of forty-five. As per his family members and the doctors, Nikola was poisoned. Agnes was only eight years old when her father died. Suddenly, the prosperous and happy childhood of the Bojaxhiu children was brought to an end by the sudden death of their father.

Another shocking news followed Nikola’s death. His business partners betrayed the entire family by taking hold of the whole business. Even Agnes’ maternal uncles did not spare her mother and claimed the legal property of Drana Bojaxhiu. Husband’s death and loss in business and property made her mother miserable. The whole family was left with only a little roof above their head. For the first time she and her family faced a terrible situation with no-financial security.

Being a strong-willed woman, Drana did not allow Agnes and her brother and sister to face unhappiness. She took great care of her children by providing them with all basic needs. This strength of her mother’s character influenced her a lot. She always remained under the care of her religious mother who taught her the values of non-materialistic kindness, generosity and love for poor and weak.

Throughout her life, Agnes believed that "Home is where the mother is". Agnes’ home was always kept open for the poor. Her parents always instructed the children to share their food with other poor children. Her mother took care of poor, old and the destitute as her own family members. She often accompanied her mother on these kind of charitable works and she strictly followed her mother’s instruction throughout her life that "When you do good, do it quietly, as if you were throwing a stone into the sea".

Thus, she always remained weak and however much her family members tried to cure her and improve her health, it would deteriorate again.

Since her childhood, Agnes had a weak chest and she suffered of chronic cough during her childhood.

As a very small child, she dreamt of serving the poor people of Africa. She had great knowledge and information regarding the working of missionaries all over India through letters received at the chapel. She learned that in Bengal, there was an order of nuns serving the poor and children, especially in the field of education. They were called Loreto nuns who were members of an International Order. All these descriptions about missionary work deeply affected young Agnes.

At the age of twelve years, she received an inner ‘call’ from her Inner-self. She had a feeling that God wanted her to join the spiritual life and belong completely to Him.

Following the call, Agnes became an active member of Sodality of Children of Mary, a Christian society for girls. This society was set up by a Croatian Jesuit priest, Father Jambre Kovic of Sacred Heart in May, 1925, in Skopje. Through this society, she wanted to fulfil her religious and social pursuits.
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