Free Research Paper About Morality AND Healthcare
Mother Teresa of Calcutta is well known for her contributions to morality and healthcare. Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who took an active role in missionary works. She received her calling into living a religious life when she was 12 years old (Slavicek, 2007). She felt that her calling did not just stop at becoming an ordinary nun, but rather it required her to become a missionary nun. Mother Teresa embarked on a journey to spread the news about Christ to people. Mother Teresa travelled to India with a vision of helping the poor people and teaching them about Christ. She founded a Roman Catholic congregation known as the Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity is composed of large numbers of nuns who run homes for sick people; soup kitchens; mobile clinics; dispensaries; orphanages; counseling programs; schools; and hospices.
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje at the time when that area was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. She was given the name Agnes. She lived with her parents and two siblings. She was the youngest child and was very bright in school. Her father died when she was eight years old, and the family started living a poor life. Her mother encouraged her and her siblings to attend the Roman Catholic Church and participate in church activities.
Mother Teresa loved reading books, and she spent a lot of time reading books that were available at the library of the church. The library contained missionary publications that intrigued Mother Teresa. These publications contained articles written by missionary priests who told about their experiences in India. The church also had fellowship meetings which Mother Teresa always attended. She was inspired by the letters that the missionary priests wrote explaining their activities in India (Slavicek, 2007). Mother Teresa admired the sacrifices made by the missionary priests and she wanted to participate in the missionary activities.
Mother Teresa informed her mother that she wanted to become a missionary nun, and this made her mother very sad. Her mother prayed inside her own bedroom for a whole day without ceasing. She finally came out of her room and accepted the decision made by Mother Teresa. At the age of 18 years, Mother Teresa joined the convent of the Sisters of Loreto (Slavicek, 2007).
The Sisters of Loreto had been founded as a community of religious women who dedicated their lives to passing the word of Christ while helping the poor people. It was similar to the community of religious men known as Jesuits. The Sisters of Loreto aimed at providing education to girls in a society where women were considered inferior. The Sisters of Loreto established several girls’ schools in Calcutta. In the beginning, the girls that attended these schools were the daughters of English and Irish soldiers. After some time, the native Indians also started attending the schools.
Mother Teresa received a lot of training at the main convent in Ireland so as to prepare her to teach in the schools in Calcutta. The training was done in English because the schools in India operated using English. Mother Teresa learnt the English language quickly. She also carried out manual labor at the convent when she was not being trained. There was a prayer schedule that had to be followed strictly at the convent.
The journey to India was a voyage that took one month (Slavicek, 2007). Mother Teresa was astonished at the high level of poverty that the Indians experienced. Most people lived on the streets and would sleep on mats or on the ground. The convent in India was located in Darjeeling which was an area that was occupied by rich people. It was totally different to Calcutta. Mother Teresa and a fellow nun called Betika were trained on the rules of the convent and prayer instructions. The training took four months after which they became novices. That is the time that Mother Teresa took up the name Teresa and left her original name Agnes.
Morality was a key aspect of being a nun. Mother Teresa had to take temporary vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience (Slavicek, 2007). These vows were temporary because they had to be renewed annually. Chastity meant that Mother Teresa would love God more than anyone else, and that she would remain celibate throughout her lifetime. Chastity is a virtue that prevents people from engaging in immoral behaviors. It is a virtue that promotes morality within the society.
Obedience requires a person to follow all the rules that have been set. In the case of Mother Teresa, she had to obey the will of God in everything that she did. In the current world, obedience requires guidance that will enable a person to do the right thing. There are some people who set up rules that are not morally correct. It is not good to obey all the orders, because they may have negative repercussions towards other people. Morality requires looking deep into the instructions that have been given, and judging whether it is the right thing to do.
The vow of poverty required Mother Teresa to live a simple life and give up all kinds of private property. The convent provided the nuns with the items they needed for their daily life. There was no provision for any kind of luxuries. A simple life enabled the nuns to stay focused on their mission. People in the society engage themselves in activities that will enable them to become rich. Sometimes these activities are not based on good morals. Some people steal or commit murder so that they can acquire properties that will make them rich.
Mother Teresa was given the role of teaching at the school in Darjeeling. The school was attended by Indian and British girls. She taught many subjects, and also stated to study Hindi and Bengali so that she could be in a better position to communicate with the Indian students. The girls that attended the school came from families that had upper or middle class statuses. She came into contact with the poor Indians while serving briefly at a medical clinic. Mother Teresa wrote a report about her experiences at the medical clinic, and it revealed that she was sympathetic about human suffering, and that she wanted to help the poor.
Mother Teresa worked in a pharmacy that had a picture showing a group of suffering people surrounding the redeemer (Slavicek, 2007). She felt that the picture relayed everything that she felt. The hospital was always filled with sick and miserable people. These sick people walked for long hours just to get to the hospital. They were poor and thin. There was one instance where a man brought a child who was very thin, and he said that if the hospital refused to take the child he would throw the child away. Mother Teresa took the child and held him in her arms. She embraced the child and considered herself a second mother to the child.
Mother Teresa left Darjeeling and started working in Calcutta. She taught girls at a secondary school in Calcutta using both English and Bengali. The school provided education to girls from rich families as well as free education to orphans and poor girls. The school was located near a major slum in Calcutta. The school was well protected with high and complex walls. There were guards at the entrance to ensure that intruders did not get into the school. The nuns were required to stay within the school compound and would only leave in case of emergencies or when instructed by the Mother Superior.
Mother Teresa got an opportunity to walk the alleys and streets of the Moti Jheel slum when she was assigned the task of teaching pupils at Bengali Medium Primary School that was a short distance from the St Mary’s School. Mother Teresa was happy to serve a community of poor people who desperately needed her services. The children at Bengali Medium were eager to learn, and were very happy when Mother Teresa showed them any sign of approval.
Mother Teresa took her final vows at a ceremony in which she wore a white wedding gown. It symbolized her marriage to Jesus Christ, and she was given a gold band. Previously she was referred to as Sister Teresa, but now she attained the name Mother Teresa. The rules of the Loreto order required nuns to be called mothers once they took their final vows (Slavicek, 2007). Mother Teresa was promoted as the head of St Mary’s School. She replaced the former principal whose health was failing. Mother Teresa could no longer teach at the Bengali Medium because she had to head the secondary school.
The World War II affected Calcutta and its inhabitants because India was a British colony. The St Mary’s School building was converted into a military hospital due to the high numbers of people who suffered injuries during the war. Mother Teresa and her students had to move to another part in Calcutta. The war led to shortages of food because the British army had closed off the Indian Ocean. The soup kitchens could not adequately provide for the large number of hungry people. Many people died out of starvation. Mother Teresa felt compelled to walk out into the streets and she saw bodies of dead people lying on the streets. Mother Teresa was ordered to leave Calcutta because her health had deteriorated. She was ordered to go to Darjeeling where she would receive treatment. It was feared that she had contracted tuberculosis (Slavicek, 2007).
On her journey to Darjeeling she got another calling that instructed her to live in the slums of Calcutta. She rested for a while in Darjeeling, and after her period of rest was over, she revealed to her spiritual adviser that God had reached out to her and instructed her to serve the poorest people. She wanted to work with those people who had been abandoned and did not have anybody to take care of them. She referred to them as “the poorest of the poor” (Slavicek, 2007). Mother Teresa wrote a series of letters to different stations of the Roman Catholic Church, and she was allowed to live and work in the slums of Calcutta.
Mother Teresa began her new mission by first changing her attire. She wore a white sari with blue stripes. She first took some medical training because she knew that the poor people would need assistance in healthcare. Mother Teresa received medical training from the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna (Slavicek, 2007). She learnt how to treat wounds; deliver babies; give injections; and recognize the early symptoms of diseases. She also learnt how to care for herself as she worked in the slums. Mother Teresa had planned to live only on rice and salt, but she was advised that her stamina and health would fail. She had to eat some protein and allow herself to rest once a week.
Mother Teresa started working at Moti Jheel slum. She taught at an open area and used a stick to draw alphabets on the ground. More students started to attend her school, and she began looking for donations from charitable societies and Catholic churches. She was able to rent space for school and buy school items. She also got some volunteer teachers to aid her in teaching. Mother Teresa realized that the poorest people in Calcutta needed medical services. She opened a dispensary using a room that she was given by St Teresa’s Church. She sought donations from pharmacies so that she could stock the dispensary (Slavicek, 2007). There is an incidence where one of the pharmacists refused to offer help to the dispensary. Mother Teresa sat on the floor of the pharmacy and started to recite the rosary until the pharmacist agreed to help. Mother Teresa offered free education and free medical help to the poorest people.
Mother Teresa was offered a room at Creek Lane by Michael Gomes. Gomes was an Indian who admired the charitable works that Mother Teresa was conducting. Mother Teresa recruited several nuns to perform the missionary works. The nuns cared for the sick, taught young people; prayed with the dying people and the bereaved; and fed the hungry people (Slavicek, 2007). Mother Teresa and the nuns lived in the space they had been offered by Gomes. The Archbishop Perier was happy with Mother Teresa’s accomplishments, and he allowed her to come up with a constitution of the order she wanted to establish. The order was approved six months later, and it included an extra vow that involved giving freely and wholeheartedly to the poorest people (Slavicek, 2007).
Mother Teresa opened a facility intended to care for the dying people. She saw the need to open the facility after the local hospitals had refused to admit a woman who was dying in the gutters. The hospitals claimed that they had very little space and could not admit a person who clearly dying. Mother carried out a crusade urging the health department of Calcutta to provide her with space that could be used to help the dying destitute to die with love and dignity (Slavicek, 2007). She was granted a vacant building in Calcutta. The facility offered care to everyone despite their religion. The people in Calcutta began to admire Mother Teresa due to her great devotion and compassion.
Mother Teresa offered care to the people suffering from leprosy. These people were treated as outcasts by the society even their own families. An infected person was immediately fired and banned from the society. Mother Teresa came across these people when they went to her for shelter and food. There was medicine that could halt the progress of the disease, but most poor people could not afford to buy the medicine. Mother Teresa launched a campaign aimed at raising funds for creating mobile leper clinics (Slavicek, 2007). An ambulance was converted into a mobile dispensary, and the members of the order plus volunteers would go into the slums to supply drugs, food, bandages, disinfectants, and other supplies to the lepers. Mother Teresa and her workers provided the lepers with love and compassion. The Missionaries of Charity established a colony of lepers outside Calcutta so as to encourage the lepers to live in a society where everyone was loved and accepted. The lepers were also able to live productive lives as well as receive medical treatment.
In conclusion, Mother Teresa is one of the people who have contributed greatly to morality and healthcare. The works of Mother Teresa were inspired by the moral need to provide help to the poorest people who are often ignored or neglected by the society. The poorest people were homeless and dying on the streets due to starvation, diseases, and war. Mother Teresa started out her charitable works because she felt that someone needed to look out for the poorest people who could not even satisfy their basic needs. Mother Teresa relied on donations to provide healthcare, food, and education to the poorest people. Her mission on health care took her to the slums where the poorest people resided. She has inspired many governments to adopt healthcare systems that provide free treatment and drugs to the poor people in the society. Rich people and corporations have also been inspired to set up charitable foundations that are aimed at sponsoring and offering scholarships to the poor people.
Slavicek, L. C., (2007). Mother Teresa: Caring for the World’s Poor. Modern Peacemakers. Retrieved from: http://www.elcaminosantiago.com/PDF/Book/Mother_Teresa_-_Caring_For_The_Worlds_Poor.pdf