Mother Teresa – A Leader Par Excellence

Mother Teresa – a brief life history

Simplicity and commitment best describe the life of Mother Teresa who worked tirelessly for the poor and needy. Of Albanian descent, this frail woman left an indelible stamp in the field of social work not just in Calcutta, but also all over the world. She empathised with the underprivileged millions who had no access to basic needs. She, along with her fellow volunteers, founded The Missionaries of Charity, with the sole objective of providing unconditional love and care to those who had no caregivers.

She became a symbol of kindness, making her voice heard in international forums on behalf of disadvantaged millions. Her sincere devotion inspired many men and women in various countries to follow in her footsteps, thereby extending the reach of her organization. The many accolades that she received, like the Peace Prize, the Balzan Prize and the Magsaysay Award, did little to sway her from her primary objectives. She continued to work for the poor and encouraged many more to do so; in spite of her passing away, she remains in the hearts of her fellow missionaries and the teeming millions who have been touched by her kindness.

Mother Teresa – a just portrayal?

Pranay Gupte has put forward an honest appreciation of one of the most well known people of our times. In the process, he seems to have pointed out the inadequacies of political and other leaders by contrasting it with the compelling forcefulness with which Mother Teresa brought social injustices to light. In doing so, he has rightly portrayed her as a forerunner in the field of developmental work, with special emphasis on her pioneering work in raising the standard of life for millions of neglected men and women living in squalor and poverty in big cities.

Mother Teresa – a life of dedication

The most important aspect of the life and work of Mother Teresa is that she addressed a need – one of giving care to people who were hitherto uncared for. It was her mission in life to approach people in her own simple way and find out what care was needed. She was able to get a first hand idea of the diseases and dangers that prevailed in these sections of society. With her volunteers, she was able to bring these people out of their misery and rehabilitate them in as best a way as possible. It was this tireless effort that caught the attention of the world. Leaders and common people came forward to help her and her organization with money and other resources. A fitting tribute to her work is the fact that her organization has been able to involve a great number of people in various countries.

Mother Teresa – the leader & risk-taker

One cannot but help wonder how this fragile-looking piece of humanity could command the respect and love of leaders and common people, crossing all borders. In her very characteristic diminutive way, she was able to call attention to the lack of progress on developmental issues that are still a cause for concern in countries like India. She would waste no opportunity in conveying to political leaders the various lacunae that existed between plans and implementations.

Her charisma was found not in didactic speeches, but in the simple life she led. She therefore led by example, a quality that is hard to associate with leaders (political or otherwise) of today, in any country. She believed that by following her goals single-mindedly, the risks she took were worth taking. She was prepared to take on anybody who would be dense enough to pose an obstacle. She was determined to adhere to Christian principles on issues like abortion and felt that all risks were worth taking, provided they focused on the betterment of the needy.

Mother Teresa – facilitating nursing leadership

When one contemplates the life of Mother Teresa, the words ‘leader’ and ‘nurse’ seem to go together. She came across as a person who could find a way out of a difficult situation by providing the right amount of support and care to get people to stand on their own feet. By providing timely medical care and psychological counselling she brought a new dimension to nursing in general and nursing leadership in particular. Yoder-Wise has provided an insight into leadership and management willingness to impact patient care and the effectiveness of results that can be achieved by health organizations (Yoder-Wise, 2003).


In short, the life of Mother Teresa has served as a study for students of varied disciplines. From social work to management theory, her life is an open book that can facilitate the development of a mature individual, sensitized to the needs of the growing number of people living below the poverty line.


Yoder-Wise, P. (2003) Leading and Managing in Nursing, 4th ed., Mosby, St. Louis.

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