If Mother Teresa were alive on her birthday today, she would be 104 years old. The Roman Catholic humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner died at the age of 87 in 1997, yet we believe there is great cause to continue to remember her life and celebrate the time that she spent here with us. Here are three reasons that we’re celebrating Mother Teresa’s Birthday and we think you should too.
No. 1 “Everyone can do something.”
We think Mother Teresa is a lot like you and a lot like us. She was a human being who understood her shortcomings and weaknesses yet still chose to use what gifts, abilities and resources she had to help others. Because of her self-awareness, she wasn’t afraid to challenge anyone and everyone to do something to help others.
Hal Donaldson, our president and co-founder, went to meet Mother Teresa in India years ago. Here’s his recollection of his conversation with the woman we celebrate today.
Within minutes of meeting Mother Teresa she had unknowingly helped set a new course for my life by asking me a simple question: “Hal, what are you doing to help the poor and suffering?”
“Nothing, really,” I answered honestly, wishing I could have had something better to report.
She looked at me kindly and said, “Everyone can do something.”
Shortly, after that meeting with Mother Teresa in India, Hal and his brothers began distributing food from the back of a pickup truck to families in need in California. In the years since, Convoy of Hope has reached around the world into the lives of more than 65 million people who are hungry, impoverished and hurting.
No. 2 “your next door neighbor.”
So often when we think of helping others, we think of somehow helping a child or family in another country. Which is great: we should be willing to help anyone and everyone who has need. Without your generosity, Convoy of Hope wouldn’t be able to provide healthy meals to more than 145,000 children in 11 nations. With that said, when we think about helping we should not just look “there,” but also “here.”
Mother Teresa is known for founding a work that has helped people in more than 130 countries, but she is most well known for her work in Calcutta, and for her service to the person in front of her. Recently we wrote about the time she said, “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”
No. 3 “just feed one.”
A few years ago Hal Donaldson was talking with his daughter about the kids that Convoy of Hope helps to feed. They got to talking about all the kids on the waiting list who didn’t have enough to eat. With young inquisitiveness, she asked something like, “If everyone just helped feed one, wouldn’t that be enough?”
Mother Teresa made a similar suggestion that, along with Hal’s daughter’s question, has inspired feedONE, an initiative of Convoy of Hope that aims to help bring an end to extreme hunger in our lifetime. She said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”
If you follow us on Twitter, you might have noticed Kobe Bryant and others wishing someone else happy birthday on our behalf.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 25, 2014
Disney star and Hollywood Records multi-platinum recording artist, Zendaya, is turning 18 in a few days. To celebrate, she’s taking Mother Teresa’s advice.