The Nobel Peace Prize 1979
Born: 26 August 1910, Uskup (now Skopje), Ottoman Empire (now Republic of Macedonia)
Died: 5 September 1997, Calcutta, India
Residence at the time of the award: India
Role: Leader of Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta
Field: humanitarian work
At the age of twelve, the Catholic Albanian girl Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu heard a call. God demanded that she devote her life to Him. She entered a nunnery, received an education, and was sent to Calcutta in India to be a teacher. Her new name was Teresa. In India she received a second call from God: to help the poor while living among them. She founded a new sisterhood, Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa and her helpers built homes for orphans, nursing homes for lepers and hospices for the terminally ill in Calcutta. Mother Teresa's organization also engaged in aid work in other parts of the world.
The modest nun became known all over the world, and money poured in. But she was also criticized. It was alleged that dying people in the hospices were refused pain relief, whereas Mother Teresa herself accepted hospital treatment. She also held a conservative view on abortion. She was regarded as a spokesperson for the Vatican. In 2003, the Pope took the first step towards her canonization.