Lincoln, Gandhi, Mother Teresa

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Feathers and Fur

Mother Teresa - Lincoln - Gandhi

These three individuals profoundly touched those whom they met. All came from humble beginnings, and all three treated life with dignity.

Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Macedonia. Her parents were Albanian. She did not lead an impoverished life. It was the values her parents demonstrated that formulated Mother Teresa's life in the religious. Unlike Gandhi who wasn't quite sure what he wanted until after the death of his mother, Mother Teresa knew as early as age 12 that she wanted to be in the religious life. She entered the convent early in her life and never seemed to question the lifestyle that she would live. However, she did make a change in her religious life when she realized exactly what she wanted to do. Better put would be when she realized whom she wanted to help.

She did not lead a difficult life in the religious order she chose holding such positions as principal. Her health was not ideal and in 1946 when recovering from suspected TB, she felt God call her to a different life. She obtained permission to leave her particular religious order, and form her own order to server the poorest of the poor. She founded the Missionaries of Charity. She knew she wanted to serve the sick, poor and destitute (the lowest in the Hindu caste system) in the streets of Calcutta. She literally went into the streets, gathered up these children of God, and gave them comfort. She never allowed one of her charges to die without dignity.

Mother Teresa was instrumental in intervening during various civil uprisings in order that she be allowed to remove the sick and injured from battle areas. She was a woman of action who not only spoke the word but lived it with passion

Mother Teresa's war against poverty did not evangelize the way evangelization is done today, but rather she evangelized by her very person. If she spoke before a group, she asked that the money the group earned be given to the poor of Calcutta. She sacrificed all she had for the sake of the have-nots. She was in the presence of Popes, Presidents, and the Princess of Wales, and even in their midst they were humbled by her unselfish desire to help the helpless. (Princess Diana was buried with the Rosary that Mother Teresa gave her.) Mother Theresa never wavered in her efforts to serve even when illness should have kept her in a sick bed. Her work will live on in the nuns who have joined her religious order in Calcutta. Many considered her a living saint.

Lincoln, like Mother Theresa, never wavered in his efforts to help the downtrodden. He believed in the dignity of life and in freedom. To that end, he led the country into battle to free the slaves of the South and thus begin a movement to ensure that all men be free.

He was not a highly educated man, but he had the ability to read. He was an avid reader and hence became a renowned orator. Lincoln and Mother Teresa led a very public life. His was a prolific rhetoric that drew ever-increasing crowds to hear him speak. It was this very public life that most likely resulted in the assassination of both Lincoln and Gandhi.

Lincoln and Gandhi both fought for the rights of people. Gandhi used peaceful means, whereas Lincoln went to war. All three took up their campaigns to fight for the rights of the lowly, but each did it in different ways. Mother Teresa by her acts of charity and kindness, Lincoln by going to war, and Gandhi by uniting the people, or by sacrificing himself.

Gandhi struggled with himself until he finally fully affirmed his beliefs, for instance, promiscuity and his struggle with vegetarianism. His vegetarianism habits would fluctuate depending on who influenced him. In the end, it was his mother who permanently influenced him upon her death.

All three were good people who putt the needs of others ahead of their own needs. The world is a better place for their efforts.

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