Skopje

Mother Teresa

more than a year ago

Skopje’s most famous daughter was undoubtedly Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, or Mother Teresa as she became known in later life. Born into an ethnic Albanian Catholic family during the final years of the Ottoman occupation on August 26, 1910 in a house that was later unceremoniously demolished to make way for a shopping centre, Agnesë spent the first 18 years of her life in Skopje, where she became increasingly fascinated with India after hearing tales from missionaries living there that were read out during church meetings she regularly attended. In 1927 she joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland, where she adopted the name Teresa before moving to Indian two years later. In 1948 she began the missionary work she became famous for and that eventually earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Returning to Skopje four times and increasingly struck with health problems, Mother Teresa passed away in her adopted Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1997 at the age of 87. Canonised in 2016 and thereafter known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, she continues to be the subject of controversy thanks to her views on abortion and the poor condition in which she maintained her houses for the dying. A statue of her stands outside Skopje’s Mother Teresa Memorial House in which her toes are curiously crossed, due so the legend goes to her being forced to wear small shoes as a child.

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