Mother Teresa and Her Compromise with Poverty and Illness

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There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” (RELEVANT magazine, 1). People suffer so much from starvation because of poverty that they could not think of anything but to survive. Poverty was a conflict that was slowly growing and corrupting the lives of many across the world. Because of poverty, another conflict arises - illness. In 1946, Mother Teresa experienced a “call within the call” when she saw the dying people of Calcutta because of the famine that occurred in 1943. (Safi, 1) She then began her compromise by helping civilians that suffer from the conflict since there was a little compromise between them; trying to end the vast majority of it. Mother Teresa opened many facilities to help the poor and sick, including the Sacred Hearts Institute, Missionaries of Church, etc. (Funk & Wagnalls, 1) Although there are still people in poverty and illness, Mother Teresa attempted to compromise with the conflict of too many poor and sick people by opening many associations and hospices so they can help cope with their issues with support, which many people are saved from these arising conflicts.

Poverty was a substantial conflict and illness was brimming all over the world. Because of the vast issues, it caused and the insufficient compromise for it, poverty and illness are difficult to resolve. Although every person saved from the conflict counts, there needs to be more compromise for it. There are so many reasons that cause poverty and illness, yet insufficient resolving for it that it becomes a large global issue. Many people suffer from it because of the lack of compromise. A factor for the cause of poverty is because of National Debt from lack of money in countries suffering from poverty and illness. Poor countries depend on money loans from richer countries or international institutions; and they pay back their National Debt with resources within the country, meaning they cannot afford to take care of the civilians living in it (Rothermal, 2). Poverty is not only a harsh conflict, but it creates another conflict. Poor jobs/Poverty can cause a direct relationship with illness, both difficult conflicts to handle with. Jobs with low paying salaries are exposed to health risks because of the working environment which usually requires physical strength and how dangerous it usually is (Kern, 15). People in poverty cannot pay for their own meals sometimes which can lead to malnutrition and other diseases from hunger. This also makes them prone to infections and it weakens their defense system or immune system against their diseases (Kern, 6).

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Because of poverty, illness is hard to prevent because medical facilities or products used to cure/prevent illness are often only for affluent people. The cost of treatment was too much for people in poverty. An elderly man in the depths of poverty from Ethiopia said that “Poverty snatched away my wife from me. When she got sick, I tried my best to cure her with tebel [holy water] and woukabi [spirits], for these were the only things a poor person could afford. However, God took her away. My son, too, was killed by malaria. Now I am alone.” (Kern, 15). He could not afford the expensive treatment for his wife and his son, who both died from diseases. Many people in poverty cannot do anything with illness because treatments usually cost a large sum of money. Because of this, more people die from the illness which becomes a magnanimous conflict as well as poverty. In brief, illness, and poverty impacted the lives of many people and the conflicts both thrive and spread together. In 1943, Calcutta, an immense famine happened, causing many poor people to die from diseases and poverty. They could not afford food because the scarcity brought the value of food higher and since they could not provide health requirements for themselves, hunger and illnesses relating to malnutrition made many people suffer and die.

Then, Mother Teresa was aware of the conflict. Mother Teresa was horrified by what she saw while serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta and experienced “the call within the call” three years after the famine and noticing the suffering (Perez-Chisti, 1). Later on, she began her compromise. She founded the Missionaries of Church, an association that provides service to the needy in many parts of the world (George, 1). The Missionaries of Church officially became an international association in 1969. (, 1) The Missionaries of the Church helped compromise with poverty and illness by providing medicine and food for the poor. Mother Teresa also opened an institute for sick people in the Kalighat district of Calcutta in 1952 called the Sacred Heart Institute. (Funk & Wagnalls, 2) Also in 1952, she established a hospice called Nirmal Hriday (“Place for the Pure of Heart”) where the terminally ill can rest in peace with dignity. People who suffered so much from illness that the hospice was a place for them to finally escape from the pain of the conflict (Britannia, 1).

In an interview with Anto Akkara on November 17, 1995, Mother Teresa stated that “‎Oh, that everybody knows. We are now in 126 countries. We have 561 houses - tabernacles we call them - and over 4600 nuns. It's simply to serve the poorest of the poor. We are wanted and we have championed those who have nothing, the deprived children of God. “ (Akkara, 1). Over time, Mother Teresa’s compromise for poverty and illness grows stronger. She was very committed to helping people who are in need of assistance as she proclaimed that, “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable” (Francis, 1). Her associations and founding of many buildings and corporations contribute to her compromise of resolving the conflict of poverty and illness. People were cured or released peacefully from it because of Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa’s actions for making many facilities and associations had many positive effects. Many people that could not take care of themselves due to poverty and illness are taken care of by the associations and Mother Teresa herself. Her actions and emphasis on helping people who struggle with poverty and illness earned her international fame and awards. She did receive some harsh criticism for her idea of Christianity applied to her compromise and other ideas she believed in that others could not come in agreement. However, Mother Teresa’s substantial compromise of poverty and illness was greatly presented as to many noticeable achievements. Mother Teresa received the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971 from Pope Paul because of her apostolate, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for helping the poor, and “ the Indian government conferred on her the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honor.” (Killcoyne, 1). Mother Teresa got criticized for her strong opinion on abortion, low medical standards in her facilities, and her way of sneaking into politics when she started to become widely known to the public.

Mother Teresa received criticism because of her “political involvement and revolutionary zeal” that was found by Latin American Roman Catholic exponents of liberation theology. She denied this and preferred to lead a 'revolution of love.' She was also strongly against abortion and told a congressional prayer at breakfast in 1994, ``That's why the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.'' (Woodwarth, 1). She was also “Criticized by some for her doctrinal motives and for alleged inadequacies in the order’s facilities for the sick and poor.” (Funk & Wagnalls). Even though she has received criticism, Mother Teresa’s associations continue to thrive and aid needy people in the present day. Over forty years later, the Sacred Heart Institute spread across five continents, helping sick people (Funk & Wagnalls). Around the 1990s there were over a million co-workers for the Missionaries of Charity in forty different countries, which was a drastic change in numbers compared to when Mother Teresa first found it ( To sum it up, her compromise had both negative and positive effects but her positive ones like her associations continuing to help people and her stand-in history are everlasting.

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