Biography
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Biography

MOTHER TERESA
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on 26th august 1910, at the 14 Pop Kochina Street, at what is now main square Macedonia. She was the youngest child in the family. She had an oldest sister Aga and older brother Lazar. Aga was born in 1904, and Lazar in 1907. Information on her father’s origin remains vague. According to some records he was a merchant, according to others a pharmacy assistant. He was also on the Skopje City Council, where he was the only Catholic member. He died in 1919. Her mother, Drana, was a housewife and an extremely religious woman. She came from the Bernaj family in Prizren. Drana’s father was a merchant and owner of a large estate..

Bojaxhiu family was a wealthy family and they had one cardinal rule – to help everybody who needs help. Drana was very hard-working woman. Following the death of her husband, she took up sewing and embroidering, in order to make a secure life for her children.

It was said that her father had chosen the name Gonxha, an old Turkish name meaning rose bud. She started school when she was seven, first attending the church school at “Sacred Heart of Jesus”, and later on the state school. She received her first Communion at the Catholic Church in Skopje. In the same church she was baptized just one day after she was born. Gonxha played the mandolin and sang in the choir, acted in the church and city theaters, danced, recited, wrote poetry.

At the beginning of the XXth century, the Catholic Church Sacred heart of Jesus in Skopje was led by the Jesuits. Father Franjo Jamrekovic, often was reading letters from the missionaries from India and Africa, to the believers. He was vividly explaining to them about the life of the missionaries.

In this way he played a major role in the decision of the young Gondza to leave for India and to dedicate her life to God.

The final decision to leave Skopje, Gonxha made when she received a call from God when she was 12 years old.

LORETO

The Sisters known as the Loreto Sisters belong to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded in 1609 by a twenty-four-year-old woman, Mary Ward. Mary Ward and her first companions established their first school at St Omer (now in France) in a house, which is still there, although it is now a private residence.

Today the congregation is engaged in a wide variety of new ministries: literacy programmes, spiritual direction, counseling, managing shelters for homeless women as well as several aspects of the movement for greater justice and peace in the world. They are active in every continent. The Loreto Sisters operate some 150 schools worldwide, educating over 70,000 students.

At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her home and her home town Skopje to join the Sisters of Loreto, in Dublin, Ireland. There she chose the name Teresa after her patron St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She learned English there, because English was the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach schoolchildren in India. Although her stay in Dublin was short, the sisters remember her as “very small, shy and quiet.”

On 1st of December 1928 she leaves for India by ship. During her traveling she wrote the song “Farewell” (originally written on Croatian – “Oproshtaj”) in which she expresses her thoughts and feelings about her home town and family and about the distant and unknown India. She arrives in Calcutta, India on 6th of January 1929.

On 25th of May 1931 she gives her first vows as Sister Teresa in Darjeeling and teaches geography and catechism in St. Mary’s School in Calcutta.

MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY

On 10th of September 1946 during her travelling to Darjeeling receives “call within a call” – an inspiration to leave the Loreto convent and to start taking care for the sick and poor.

On 12th of April 1948 she receives a decree by Pope Pius XII – a permission from Vatican to start her mission among the poorest of the poor.

On 7th of October 1950 the Society of the Missionaries Sisters of Charity – at that time 12 members – is officially established as a diocesan congregation. In 1965 the Missionaries of Charity receive pontifical recognition.

On 25th of March she establishes Missionaries of Charity Brothers.

Now, there are more than 5000 active Missionaries Sisters in more than 137 countries around the world.

Memorial House for Mother Teresa – Skopje

The desire to pay respect to Skopje’s most famous person and the only Nobel Peace Prize winner from Macedonia culminated in the realization of a long-standing vision – building a Memorial House for Mother Teresa. Accordingly, the foundation stone of the Memorial House was laid on May 9, 2008. The building, dedicated to the most humane woman in the world, was completed in just nine months. For visitors, the Memorial House was open on January 30, 2009.

The location of the museum is not randomly chosen. That is to say, on this exact place the old Catholic Church “Sacred Heart of Jesus” used to stand. It is where Mother Teresa, then Gonxha Bojaxhiu was baptized just one day after her birth.

Since the opening of the Memorial House in 2009 until today, the number of visitors ranges from 80000 to 100000 per year, including a number of presidents, ministers, ambassadors, church dignitaries, the niece of Mother Teresa – Age, Cardinal Pietro Parolin (Vatican secretary of state) and others.

Gallery

The exhibit area in the Memorial House of Mother Teresa was conceived so as to look like an urban house from the early 20th century.

The exhibit itself begins with photographs of old Skopje from the early 20th century, when Macedonia was still part of the Ottoman Empire. The aim is to recapture the spirit of this part of the Balkans as a crossroads between the oriental East and the Christian West. This mixture of cultures was woven into every thread of daily life and is best illustrated through the display of furniture and clothes, and the handiwork of silversmiths and goldsmiths.

The aim of the exhibit is to follow the life of Mother Teresa from her childhood spent in her native Skopje through the years spent as a Missionary of Charity, all the way until her death and beatification.

The most important items in this museum are the signature white sari with blue stripes (second class relic), the official habit of the Missionaries of Charity, copy of the Baptism certificate from the Catholic Church Sacred Heart of Jesus, authorized copies of documents with her handwriting and her awards.

Among the documents on display is the prayer book written by Mother Teresa, a copy of the Nobel Peace Prize received in 1979 and a copy of the letter sent to the Mayor of Skopje, Metodi Antov, on the occasion of her receiving the prize.

The exhibit boasts numerous photographs which vividly capture the humanitarian work of the sisters of Mother Teresa’s order.
Amphitheater

The basement part of the museum is designed as a multimedia center that hosts various projections, promotions, exhibitions, educational projects related to the life and humanitarian work of Mother Teresa.

Chapel

Above the gallery there is a small chapel where the priests from the Catholic Church hold services. At the honorary masses associated with important dates related to Mother Teresa her relic is presented.