Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, commonly known as Mother Teresa (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997), was a Roman Catholic Religious Sister and missionary of Albanian origin who lived for most of her life in India.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries. They run hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s and family counseling programs; orphanages; and schools. Members of the institute must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and the fourth vow, to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.
Mother Teresa was the recipient of numerous honors including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003, she was beatified as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”. A second miracle credited to her intercession is required before she can be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
A controversial figure both during her life and after her death, Mother Teresa was widely admired by many for her charitable works, but also widely criticized, particularly for her efforts opposing contraception and for substandard conditions in the hospices for which she was responsible.