Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
The International Day of Charity is celebrated on September 5, every year. This day reminds us that as individuals and as a society, it is our responsibility to extend a helping hand to those around us who need it. This United Nations-mandated holiday commemorates the death anniversary of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The day has been in observance since 2012.
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International Day of Charity Importance
The day acknowledges the role of philanthropic activities in relieving humanitarian crises across the world in whatever way possible.
The central idea behind observing this day is to stimulate and animate the efforts from individuals, organizations, NGOs, and governments across the globe to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
The day reminds us to give back to society.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 in what was back then the Ottoman Empire. At birth, she was named Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. At the age of 18 she came to India as a Catholic nun and missionary.
While she devoted herself to her Catholic faith from a very young age, Mother Teresa found her calling for charity and service toward the needy in 1948. When she moved from Loreto Convent (Darjeeling) to Calcutta, she fully devoted herself to working for the upliftment of the underprivileged.
She lived in Calcutta for the major part of her life and devoted her entire life and selfhood to caring for the needy and destitute. Her spirit of service, charity and empathy continue to inspire people all around the world. She passed away on September 5, 1997.
- Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation in 1950.
- Mother Teresa founded the Mother House in Calcutta in 1950. Mother Teresa is buried in the Mother House.
- She wore a white sari with a blue border all her life. This sari soon became her motif and is now worn by all the nuns associated with the Missionaries of Charity all over the word.
- She was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize in 1962.
- She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
- She was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2016 as a Saint. Thus, she is also known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Take a tour of the Mother House, Calcutta.
The Spirit of Service
While Mother Teresa has set an example so high, it can be met by a few. However, her exemplary service should inspire us to do our bit in whatever small way possible. While some help with cash, some help in kind. Moreover, some offer their services to those who need it. This is a day to celebrate selfless help in whatever form it comes.
You can learn more about the life of Mother Teresa.
International Day of Charity Celebration
In a world torn by war, pandemic and poverty, there is now a need more than ever for us to share what we have with others who need it. While it is important to create a dialogue on social media and the internet about issues, in this case, it is simply not enough.
Take some time to reflect on which charity you would like to actively support. Read up on some local charities and the work they do, try to find a cause dear to your heart. This International Day of Charity, it would be nice to commit to support a local charity of your choice.
The Mother Wax Museum in Kolkata is named after Mother Teresa.
Further Reading on Mother Teresa
- No Greater Love by Mother Teresa
- Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta by Brian Kolodiejchuk
- Mother Teresa: A Biography by Meg Greene
- Mother Teresa by Navin Chawla
- A Gift for God: Prayers and Meditations by Mother Teresa
- Mother Teresa: The Untold Story by Aroup Chatterjee
- The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice by Christopher Hitchens
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