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MOTHER TERESA: 1910-1997

A Life of Charity

September 06, 1997

Significant events in the life of Mother Teresa:

1910: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu born Aug. 27 in Skopje, in what is now Macedonia, the youngest of three children of Albanian parents.

1928: Becomes novitiate in Loretto order, which ran mission schools in India, and takes name Sister Teresa.

1929: Arrives in Calcutta to teach at St. Mary's High School.

1946: Riding a train to the mountain town of Darjeeling to recover from suspected tuberculosis, she believes that God is calling her "to serve him among the poorest of the poor."

1947: Permitted to leave her order and moves to Calcutta's slums to set up her first school.

1950: Founds the order of Missionaries of Charity.

1952: Opens Nirmal Hriday ("Pure Heart"), a home for the dying, followed next year by her first orphanage.

1962: Wins her first prize for her humanitarian work: the Padma Shri award for "distinguished service." Over the years she uses the money from such prizes to found dozens of new homes.

1979: Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

1982: Persuades Israelis and Palestinians to stop shooting long enough to rescue 37 retarded children from a hospital in besieged Beirut.

1983: Has a heart attack while in Rome visiting Pope John Paul II.

1985: Awarded Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian award.

1989: Has a second and nearly fatal attack. Doctors implant pacemaker.

1990: Announces her intention to resign and a conclave of sisters is called to choose successor. In a secret ballot, Mother Teresa is re-elected with only one dissenting vote--her own--and withdraws request to step down.

1993: Breaks three ribs in fall in May in Rome; hospitalized for malaria in August in New Delhi; undergoes surgery to clear blocked blood vessel in Calcutta in September.

1996: Nov. 16, receives honorary U.S. citizenship.

1996: Falls and breaks collarbone in April; suffers malarial fever and failure of the left heart ventricle in August; treated for a chest infection and recurring heart problems in September; readmitted to hospital with chest pains and breathing problems Nov. 22.

1997: Hands over leadership of Missionaries of Charity in March to a native Indian, Sister Nirmala. Receives Congressional Medal of Freedom in Washington in June. Dies after suffering lung, kidney and heart problems in Calcutta in September.

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