Missionaries of Charity
On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from Holy See to start the Missionaries of Charity, her religious non-profit organization. Their job was to care for "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” ln 1965, the Missionaries of Charity became an international Religious Family. It started with just thirteen members, but today, it has a large number of branches with thousands of nuns that run charity centers, orphanages, and AIDS hospices. The first establishment outside of India was in Venezuela. The first home of the Missionaries of Charity in the United States was in South Bronx, New York. The Missionaries of Charity have at least 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.
A member of the congregation must take vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and give "Wholehearted and Free service to the poorest of the poor". Missionaries take care of refugees, ex-prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, AIDS victims, and the elderly. The soup kitchens and schools for street children are run by volunteers. In 1965, Pope Paul VI granted Mother Teresa the request of the missionaries to expand to other countries. Everything was done without giving up money, regardless of religious beliefs but from the kindness of their hearts.
Today, the Missionaries of Charity has active and contemplative branches of sisters and brothers in other countries. In 1979, the contemplative branch of the brothers was added. In 1984, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers was founded with the help of Father Joseph Langford. The Missionaries have spread around the globe to many nations including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They help countries affected by poverty in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They help civilians when natural disasters take place. By the 1990s, there were aided by at least a million co-workers of Mother Teresa in at least 40 countries.
If one wishes to become a member of the Missionaries of Charity, they must be between 18 and 35. At least 9 years of training are required. They must have the right intentions, be healthy in body and mind, and be able to bear the hardships that come with this career. Candidates work as assistance to civility in Shishu Bhavan and Nirmal Hriday for a year. Then, they choose a religious name and begin to study. The Missionaries study the sacred Scripture, the Constitutions of the Society, Church history, and Theology. For the first few years, they wear white saris without the standard three blue stripes. After two years, selected candidates take vows, then receive the blue striped sari. After the 4th or 5th year, vows are renewed.