Mother Teresa lived a life committed to helping others. Among her many accomplishments were building a hospice center, as well as centers for blind and disabled people. She also established a leper colony. Her works of compassion were honored with a Nobel Prize in 1979.
Born in 1910 and baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the native Macedonian was deeply involved with the works of the Catholic church at a young age. After her father's death, her mother began to teach her how to live a compassionate life and commit kind acts toward others. At 12, Mother Teresa experienced a religious calling, and at 18, she joined a convent in Ireland, where she was renamed Sister Mary Teresa.
Teresa was later assigned a teaching position at a school for girls in Calcutta, where she took a spiritual vow and gained the title, "Mother." She became known for her kindness to students, and was appointed principal of the school. In 1946, Teresa said that Christ spoke to her and told her to leave the school and begin attending to the poor and sick in Calcutta. The local archbishop reluctantly approved her calling, and after six months of medical training, Teresa set out to work. She quickly established a new school and congregation by convincing the city to donate a run-down building.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Teresa expanded her ministry internationally, with the pope's blessing. She founded one of the first AIDS/HIV centers in New York City, and her outreach, even after her death in 1997, has led to the establishment of over 4,000 charitable centers throughout the world.