John Winston Ono Lennon, (October 1940 – December 1980, was an English rock musician, singer-songwriter, author, and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. With Paul McCartney, Lennon formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century and "wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history." He is ranked the second most successful songwriter in UK singles chart history after McCartney.
Lennon revealed a rebellious nature, and biting wit, in his music, on film, in books, and at press conferences and interviews. He was controversial through his work as a peace activist and visual artist. After The Beatles, Lennon enjoyed a successful solo career with such acclaimed albums as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine." After a self-imposed "retirement" to raise his son Sean, Lennon reemerged with a comeback album, Double Fantasy, but was murdered less than one month after its release. The album would go on to win the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
In 2002, respondents to a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted Lennon eighth. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 38 on its list of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time" (The Beatles being number one). He was also ranked fifth greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2008. He was posthumously inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Multimedia artist Yoko Ono was born February 18, 1933, in Tokyo, Japan, the eldest of three children born to Eisuke and Isoko, a wealthy aristocratic family.
Her father, who worked for the Yokohama Specie Bank, was transferred to San Francisco two weeks before she was born. The rest of the family soon followed. Her father was transferred back to Japan in 1937, and she enrolled at the elite Peers’ School in Tokyo.
In 1940, the family moved to New York, then back to Japan in 1941 when her father was transferred to Hanoi on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Ono remained in Tokyo through World War II, including the great-fire bombing of 1945.
Ono first met John Lennon of the English rock band The Beatles on November 9, 1966, when he visited a preview of her exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London. He was taken with the positive, interactive nature of her work. He especially cited a ladder leading up to a black canvas with a spyglass on a chain, which revealed the word “yes’ written on the ceiling.
They collaborated on art, film, and musical projects, and became famous for their series of ‘conceptual events’ to promote world peace. Lennon was shot by a deranged fan, only a few feet from Ono, in 1980.
Following Lennon’s death, Ono continued her career and has recorded albums, performed concert tours, and composed two off-Broadway musicals. She exhibited her art internationally, and in 2002 the first U.S. retrospective of her work opened in New York City. On 9 October that year, to commemorate what would have been Lennon' 62nd birthday, she inaugurated the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace prize.
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground.
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
All you need is love.
God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?
I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.
If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.
If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.
Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem.
The more I see the less I know for sure.
The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.
When you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,' you just scream.
We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.
The Dalai Lama is the fourteenth leader in a line of Buddhist spiritual and political leaders of Tibet. Buddhists are followers of Gautama Buddha (c. 563–c. 483 B.C.E. ), who believed the troubles of this life can be overcome through moral and mental discipline. The Dalai Lama fled his country and took safety in India in 1959 during the revolt against Chinese control of Tibet. Since that time, while still in exile (a forced or a voluntary absence from one's country), he has promoted Tibetan religious and cultural traditions.
The name given the Dalai Lama when he was born on July 6, 1935, was Lhamo Thondup. He came from a very small village in northeast Tibet called Taktser. At that time there were only twenty families living in all of Taktser. "Dalai Lama" is a name of honor and respect that was given to him by the Buddhist monks of Tibet. "Lama" means "teacher" or "wise person." "Dalai" means "ocean." When put together Dalai Lama is translated as "Ocean of Wisdom."
The young Dalai Lama's parents were farmers who raised sheep and grew barley, buckwheat, and potatoes. In addition to Lhamo there were six other children in the family, four boys and two girls.
The current Dalai Lama is the fourteenth person to hold that title in straight succession. This means the role is passed from one person to another with no break in order. The people of Tibet believe that when one Dalai Lama dies he is reincarnated (reborn) in a young child. In other words, they believe that the soul of the current Dalai Lama is the same soul that was in the first Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lamas have been the head of the order of Gelugpa Buddhism, which means "Yellow Hat," since the fourteenth century. The Dalai Lama took on the additional role of political leader in the seventeenth century. All Dalai Lamas since that time have had that dual responsibility.
The thirteenth Dalai Lama died in December of 1933. When he died, the Buddhist monks prayed for guidance to find the new Dalai Lama. They felt signs and oracles (divine answers or prophecies) would lead them to him. They finally received a vision that the new Dalai Lama would be found in the northeast part of Tibet. He would be living in a house that had strange gutters and that was near a monastery (a place where monks live and pray).
Many monks went out on the journey. After much searching, a group of them came to the village of Taktser, which has a monastery nearby. There they found Lhamo at his house, which had strangely shaped gutters. They spoke to him and to his parents and performed a test. The monks had brought several items with them from their home monastery. Some of the items had belonged to the thirteenth Dalai Lama and others were imitations or just common objects. Lhamo correctly identified the objects that had belonged to the thirteenth Dalai Lama. The monks knew they had found the reincarnation of their leader. Lhamo was two years old at the time.
The monks took Lhamo to a monastery in Kumbum, Tibet. For two years he was given the basic education he would need to lead his country both spiritually and politically. After this he was brought to the Potala palace in Lhasa, the capital of the country. The Potala palace is a structure of over one thousand rooms built into a mountain. There he took his place on the Lion Throne, a richly carved, wooden throne covered with jewels. He was only four years old on February 22, 1940, when the monks declared that he was the new Dalai Lama. He took the name Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso in honor of lamas who had served before him. Since then, however, he has only used a shortened version of that name for himself—Tenzin Gyasto.
The monks at the Potala palace gave the Dalai Lama private instruction. His only classmate was one of his brothers. According to a long-standing tradition, when the young Dalai Lama misbehaved in class, it was his brother who was punished. Over the years the Dalai Lama learned penmanship, history, religion, philosophy, Tibetan medicine, art, music, and literature, among many other subjects. Throughout all of his study he attended meetings of the government.
The Dalai Lama loved working with mechanical things. He spent a great deal of time with his telescope. He enjoyed taking watches and small machines apart and putting them back together. There were only four cars in all of Tibet at that time and three belonged to the thirteenth Dalai Lama. Tenzin Gyatso loved working with the engines and trying to drive the cars.
The Dalai Lama took over the political leadership of Tibet in November 1950, not long after the Chinese Communist army invaded the country. (Communism is a political system based on the belief that property should not be owned by any individual but should belong to everyone in common. Communists also believe that all business should be under the control of the government.) The Dalai Lama was fifteen years old and leading a country on the brink of crisis.
Mainland China had become a communist nation in 1949 after World War II (1939–45; a war in which the Allies, including France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States, defeated the Axis forces of Germany, Italy, and Japan). Mao Zedong (1893–1976) led communist China. Eighty thousand members of the Chinese army invaded Tibet in early 1950. The Chinese said the people of Tibet invited the army to save them from the rule of a cruel government. The Chinese also claimed that Tibet was originally a part of China.
Neither of these statements were true. The Dalai Lama visited with the Chinese to ask them to leave Tibet. They would not. He visited neighboring countries to try to get help to push the invaders out. The other countries, however, were afraid of what might happen to them if they opposed a nation as powerful as China, and they offered little support. After years of trying to negotiate with the Chinese and seeing his people suffer under Chinese rule, the Dalai Lama finally fled to India in April 1959. He has been away from his native Tibet since then.
The Dalai Lama learned Buddhist thought and practice as part of his monastic (done by monks or nuns) training. The people of Tibet still consider him to be their spiritual and political leader. Since his exile he has worked tirelessly to help Tibetans who have managed to flee their country. He has worked with many Westerners for the cause of returning Tibet to its own people.
The Dalai Lama's contact with Westerners has broadened his interest beyond Buddhism. He has given many speeches and written several books. In them he discusses how religions are similar in their development of love and compassion and in their pursuit of goodness and happiness for all beings. He is greatly admired, not just by Buddhists, but by people everywhere. He speaks not only of spiritual matters, but also of global peace and environmental concerns. His thoughts are received as popular and universal messages.
In 1987 the Dalai Lama was the recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, named after the famous Dr. Schweitzer (1875–1965), who worked in Africa. In 1989 the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Dalai Lama remains an active and revered humanitarian (someone who believes in human welfare and social reform) throughout the world, even though an intestinal illness he suffered in January 2002 caused him to cut back on his schedule. He has spent much of his time traveling, speaking against communism, and working for peace. He has a devoted following that includes individuals from all over the world and from all walks of life. His struggles for peace and freedom have made him one of the most recognized and well-regarded political and spiritual leaders in the world.
Worship the All-Merciful, feed the hungry and spread peace. You shall then enter Paradise in peace.
Muhammad was born around the year 570 in the city of Mecca, Arabia. His name means "highly praised." Muhammad's full name was Abu al-Qasim Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Abd al-Muttalib Ibn Hashim. He was the last prophet of the religion of Islam.
Muhammad's father, Abdallah, died several weeks before his birth and his mother, Aminah, died when he was six years old. He was raised by his paternal grandfather, 'Abd al Muttalib, until the age of eight, and after his grandfather's death by Abu Talib, his paternal uncle. Under the guardianship of Abu Talib, Muhammad began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader.
The tradition of Islam claims that in the year 610, Muhammad, while on a retreat to Mount Hira for meditation during the month of Ramadan, received his first revelation from the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel said to Muhammad: "Iqraa," meaning "read" or "recite." He replied, "I cannot read." Gabriel embraced Muhammad and after releasing him repeated: "Iqraa." Muhammad's answer was the same as before. Gabriel repeated the embrace, asking Muhammad to repeat after him and said: "Recite in the name of your Lord who created! He created man from that which clings. Recite; and thy Lord is most Bountiful, He who has taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not."
The Angel Gabriel visited the Muhammad many times over a period of twenty-three years. Gabriel taught Muhammad the verses and he instructed his scribes to record them. All the revealed verses are compiled in the Qur'an. The Prophet's sayings and actions are recorded separately in collections known as Hadith. Muslims believe that Muhammad was a messenger of Allah (Arabic for The One and Only God) and last of the prophets sent by Allah to guide man to the right path.
The Prophet's mission was to restore the worship of the One True God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, as taught by Prophet Abraham and all Prophets of God, and to demonstrate the laws of moral, ethical, legal, and social conduct. Islam means peace by submission and obedience to the Will and Commandments of God. Those who accept Islam are called Muslims, meaning those who have accepted the message of peace by submission to God.
The Qur'an provides insight into the missions, struggles and communities of twenty-five Prophets, the first of which is Adam. The Qur'an mentions four previously revealed Scriptures: Suhoof (Pages) of Abraham, Taurat ('Torah') as revealed to Moses, Zuboor ('Psalms') as revealed to David, and Injeel ('Evangel') as revealed to Jesus. Islam requires belief in all the prophets and revealed scriptures as part of its Articles of Faith.
Muhammad's first few followers were his cousin, Ali, his servant, Zayd ibn Harithah, his friend, Abu Bakr and his wife and daughters. They all accepted Islam by testifying that: "There is no Deity (worthy of worship) except Allah (The One True God) and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." By the end of his life, Muhammad had several hundred thousand followers.
Before he died in 632, Muhammad had established the religious practices known as "the five pillars of Islam." They are declaring the oneness of Allah and his messenger Muhammad; praying five times a day; fasting during the month of Ramadan; giving to charity; and making the pilgrimage to Mecca. Some Muslims recognize a sixth pillar in the Islamic jihad that can be an armed conflict in defence of Islam (known as the lesser jihad); and improving one's spiritual being (called the greater jihad).
Muhammad is the model of Qur'anic behavior for Muslims. They mention his name by adding "peace be upon him," a phrase used with the name of all the prophets. Muslims try to follow the Qur'an and the Prophet's example in every detail.
Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was the second son of Walter Whitman, a housebuilder, and Louisa Van Velsor. The family, which consisted of nine children, lived in Brooklyn and Long Island in the 1820s and 1830s.
At the age of twelve, Whitman began to learn the printer's trade, and fell in love with the written word. Largely self-taught, he read voraciously, becoming acquainted with the works of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and the Bible.
Whitman worked as a printer in New York City until a devastating fire in the printing district demolished the industry. In 1836, at the age of 17, he began his career as teacher in the one-room school houses of Long Island. He continued to teach until 1841, when he turned to journalism as a full-time career.
He founded a weekly newspaper, Long-Islander, and later edited a number of Brooklyn and New York papers. In 1848, Whitman left the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to become editor of the New Orleans Crescent. It was in New Orleans that he experienced at first hand the viciousness of slavery in the slave markets of that city. On his return to Brooklyn in the fall of 1848, he founded a "free soil" newspaper, the Brooklyn Freeman, and continued to develop the unique style of poetry that later so astonished Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In 1855, Whitman took out a copyright on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which consisted of twelve untitled poems and a preface. He published the volume himself, and sent a copy to Emerson in July of 1855. Whitman released a second edition of the book in 1856, containing thirty-three poems, a letter from Emerson praising the first edition, and a long open letter by Whitman in response. During his subsequent career, Whitman continued to refine the volume, publishing several more editions of the book.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Whitman vowed to live a "purged" and "cleansed" life. He wrote freelance journalism and visited the wounded at New York-area hospitals. He then traveled to Washington, D.C. in December 1862 to care for his brother who had been wounded in the war.
Overcome by the suffering of the many wounded in Washington, Whitman decided to stay and work in the hospitals and stayed in the city for eleven years. He took a job as a clerk for the Department of the Interior, which ended when the Secretary of the Interior, James Harlan, discovered that Whitman was the author of Leaves of Grass, which Harlan found offensive. Harlan fired the poet.
Whitman struggled to support himself through most of his life. In Washington, he lived on a clerk's salary and modest royalties, and spent any excess money, including gifts from friends, to buy supplies for the patients he nursed. He had also been sending money to his widowed mother and an invalid brother. From time to time writers both in the states and in England sent him "purses" of money so that he could get by.
In the early 1870s, Whitman settled in Camden, NJ, where he had come to visit his dying mother at his brother's house. However, after suffering a stroke, Whitman found it impossible to return to Washington. He stayed with his brother until the 1882 publication of Leaves of Grass gave Whitman enough money to buy a home in Camden.
In the simple two-story clapboard house, Whitman spent his declining years working on additions and revisions to a new edition of the book and preparing his final volume of poems and prose, Good-Bye, My Fancy (1891). After his death on March 26, 1892, Whitman was buried in a tomb he designed and had built on a lot in Harleigh Cemetery.
Wax recoding of Whitman reading from his poem America
Quotes by Walt Whitman
Be curious, not judgmental.
Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
Freedom - to walk free and own no superior.
Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.
Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself.
I may be as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.
Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.
Let that which stood in front go behind, let that which was behind advance to the front, let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions, let the old propositions be postponed.
Produce great men, the rest follows.
Walt Whitman's Peace Poems
Look Down Fair Moon
Look down fair moon and bathe this scene, Pour softly down night's nimbus floods on faces ghastly, swollen, purple, On the dead on their backs with arms toss'd wide, Pour down your unstinted nimbus sacred moon.
Word over all, beautiful as the sky, Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost, That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again and ever again, this soiled world; For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead, I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin— I draw near, Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.
Spirit Whose Work is Done
Spirit whose work is done! spirit of dreadful hours! Ere, departing, fade from my eyes your forests of bayonets; Spirit of gloomiest fears and doubts, (yet onward ever unfaltering pressing;) Spirit of many a solemn day, and many a savage scene! Electric spirit! That with muttering voice, through the war now closed, like a tireless phantom flitted, Rousing the land with breath of flame, while you beat and beat the drum; —Now, as the sound of the drum, hollow and harsh to the last, reverberates round me; As your ranks, your immortal ranks, return, return from the battles; While the muskets of the young men yet lean over their shoulders; While I look on the bayonets bristling over their shoulders; While those slanted bayonets, whole forests of them, appearing in the distance, approach and pass on, returning homeward, Moving with steady motion, swaying to and fro, to the right and left, Evenly, lightly rising and falling, as the steps keep time; —Spirit of hours I knew, all hectic red one day, but pale as death next day; Touch my mouth, ere you depart— press my lips close! Leave me your pulses of rage! bequeath them to me! fill me with currents convulsive! Let them scorch and blister out of my chants, when you are gone; Let them identify you to the future, in these songs.
Sun of Real Peace
O Sun of real peace! O hastening light! O free and extatic! O what I here, preparing, warble for! O the sun of the world will ascend, dazzling, and take his height— and you too, O my Ideal, will surely ascend! O so amazing and broad— up there resplendent, darting and burning! O vision prophetic, stagger'd with weight of light! with pouring glories! O lips of my soul, already becoming powerless! O ample and grand Presidentiads! Now the war, the war is over! New history! new heroes! I project you! Visions of poets! only you really last! sweep on! sweep on! O heights too swift and dizzy yet! O purged and luminous! you threaten me more than I can stand! (I must not venture— the ground under my feet menaces me— it will not support me: O future too immense,)— O present, I return, while yet I may, to you.
It isn't enough to talk about peace...one must work for it.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born in New York City on October 11, 1884. Her father was Elliott Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt's younger brother and her mother was Anna Hall, a descendent of the Livingstons, a distinguished New York family. Both her parents died when she was a child, her mother in 1892, and her father in 1894. After her mother's death, Eleanor lived with her grandmother, Mrs. Valentine G. Hall, in Tivoli, New York. She was educated by private tutors until age 15, when she was sent to Allenswood, a school for girls in England, whose headmistress, Mademoiselle Marie Souvestre, had a great influence on her education and thinking. At age 18, Eleanor Roosevelt returned to New York where she resided with cousins. During that time she became involved in social service work, joined the Junior League and taught at the Rivington street Settlement House.
On March 17, 1905, she married her fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and between 1906 and 1916, they became the parents of six children, all of whom are deceased -- the first Franklin Delano, Jr. (1909), Anna Eleanor (1975), John (1981), Franklin Delano, Jr. (1988), Elliott (1990), and James (1991). During this period her public activities gave way to family concerns and her husband's political career. However, with American entry in World War I, she became active in the American Red Cross and in volunteer work in Navy hospitals. After Franklin Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921, Mrs. Roosevelt became increasingly active in politics both to help him maintain his interests and to assert her own personality and goals. She participated in the League of Women Voters, joined the Women's Trade Union League, and worked for the Women's Division of the New York State Democratic Committee. She helped to found Val-Kill Industries, a nonprofit furniture factory in Hyde Park, New York, and taught at the Todhunter School, a private girls' school in New York City.
During Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt was an active First Lady who traveled extensively around the nation, visiting relief projects, surveying working and living conditions, and then reporting her observations to the President. She also exercised her own political and social influence; she became an advocate of the rights and needs of the poor, of minorities, and of the disadvantaged. In World War II, she visited England and the South Pacific to foster good will among the Allies and boost the morale of US servicemen overseas.
After President Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, Mrs. Roosevelt continued public life. She was appointed by President Truman to the United States Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, a position she held until 1953. She was chairman of the Human Rights Commission during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
In 1953, Mrs. Roosevelt resigned from the United States Delegation to the United Nations and volunteered her services to the American Association for the United Nations. She was an American representative to the World Federation of the United Nations Associations, and later became the chairman of the Associations' Board of Directors. She was reappointed to the United States Delegation to the United Nations by President Kennedy in 1961. Kennedy also appointed her as a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and chairman of the President's Commission on the Status of Women. Mrs. Roosevelt received many awards for her humanitarian efforts.
Eleanor Roosevelt was in real demand as a speaker and lecturer, both in person and through the media of radio and television. She was a prolific writer with many articles and books to her credit including a multi-volume autobiography. In late 1935, she began a syndicated column, "My Day," which she continued until shortly before her death. She also wrote monthly question and answer columns for the Ladies Home Journal (1941-49) and McCalls (1949-62).
In her later years, Mrs. Roosevelt lived at Val-kill in Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York. She also maintained an apartment in New York City where she died on November 7, 1962. She is buried alongside her husband in the rose garden of their estate at Hyde Park, now a national historic site.
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.
Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.
It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.
If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.
I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.
I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.
Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopj, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months' training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.
On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.
Today the order comprises Active and Contemplative branches of Sisters and Brothers in many countries. In 1963 both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers was founded. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added, and in 1984 the Priest branch was established.
The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.
The Missionaries of Charity throughout the world are aided and assisted by Co-Workers who became an official International Association on March 29, 1969. By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries. Along with the Co-Workers, the lay Missionaries of Charity try to follow Mother Teresa's spirit and charism in their families.
Mother Teresa's work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards.