Agnes Gonxha Bojaxiu (mother Teresa) was born on August 26, 1910 in Albania. As a child she was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries, so by age 12 she was convinced that she would commit herself to a religious life. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English, the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school in India. She took her first religious vows as a nun on May 24, 1931. It was at that time she chose the name Teresa after Therese de Listeux - the patron saint of missionaries. It was in 1946 when Mother Teresa received what she describes as "the call within the call" while traveling to Loreto convent in Darjeling from Calcutta for a retreat. She felt she was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. She started her missionary work in 1948 and replaced her traditionary Loreto habit with a white sari with blue border. She was a Catholic nun of India. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. She ministered to the poor, sick and orphaned for over 45 years while expanding the Missionaries of Charity.
By the 1970's she was well known as a humanitarian for the poor due partly to a book and documentary Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India's highest civilian honor the Bharat Ratna in 1980. Throughout her years as a missioonary Mother Teresa felt the need to create a home for orphaned children so she opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children's Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth. She also opened the first Home for the Dying in Calcutta. With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying. Her Missionaries of Charity expanded to 610 missions with over 4000 sisters in 123 countries by 1997.
Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 form complications from two previous heart attacks and a bout with malaria. She was granted a state funeral by the Indian government in gratitude for her service to the poor of all religions in India.