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4 Lessons Learned from the Life of Mother Teresa

I am thankful for the life of Mother Teresa. I recently finished reading her authorized autobiography by Kathryn Spink, and although I cannot fathom living the life that she did, I was able to extract some wisdom from this beautiful life of hers.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it. Week 16 of practicing gratitude and learning life lessons from the life of mother teresa. Quotes by mother teresa of Calcutta. Mother teresa quotes mother teresa. On gratitude. Quotes from Mother Teresa. I am grateful for the life of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa Quotes Mother Teresa.Pin

4 Lessons Learned from the Life of Mother Teresa:
  1. Love begins at home. We need to work on loving each other within our marriages, our families, our neighborhoods before thinking about crossing seas to love people in different lands. Do you know who your neighbors are?
  2. Do small things with great love. It’s of her most well-known quotes and her life was the epitome of just that. When I think of how much she did in her lifetime, there is nothing small about it, but I am forgetting all the small sacrifices she made every single day. It certainly wasn’t a glamorous life.. The day to day usually never is.. “Mother Teresa was like a quiet storm that will shake you. She says little things – but from them come oak trees.” She believed in something as small as a smile making all the difference. “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” 
  3. Everyone has a role and a different purpose. Although she welcomed whoever wanted to serve the poorest of the poor, she didn’t expect people to be like her and live her life. She once told a cricket player that he couldn’t do what she did, and she couldn’t do what he did. We must each strive to be the best at what we are gifted at, and that is making something beautiful for God.
  4. The greatest poverty is being unloved, which means both the materially rich and poor know and experience it. She believed that everyone deserved to be loved. “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” I don’t often think that the people with money need my help or need my love.

“I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody.” So this goes back to number 1.

Reading about her life inspired me and illustrated for me what it meant to do small things with great love. I know when it comes to my capacity to love others, I really do have to start small. I’m thankful for people like Mother Teresa, and I’m thankful that there are many like her whose stories haven’t been told yet. They give me hope. Even though we can’t do everything, we can do something.

I highly recommend you give it a read. Really so inspiring.
Love begins at Home. Mother Teresa Quotes.Pin

This is week 16 of practicing gratitude on my blog. I’m actually taking a break from writing in my daily gratitude journal.. and turns out I’m actually grateful for the break! How about that. You can see all my other gratitude posts by clicking on the banner:
gratitude list. practicing gratitude blog. This is my gratitude list for the week. graditude 101. This is week 12 of practicing gratitude. inspirational life quotes. What i'm thankful for this week. gratitude quotes by Thornton Wilder. attitude of gratitude. quotes on gratitude by wilder thornton.Pin

This Post Has 65 Comments

  1. Ashley

    Love this! I kept trying to pick one that felt more powerful to me, but they all did! :)

  2. Sarah

    What a lovely post no.4 is so true

    1. Thank you Sarah! It’s so easy to overlook certain people.. but everyone could use more love in their lives.

  3. Lisa Marie Heath

    Wonderful post! Mother Teresa is an inspiration!

  4. Christen

    Mother Teresa is one of the people I admire most. She was awesome on so many levels.

  5. Sierra

    Mother Teresa is my hero!

  6. Betsy Gettis

    “do small things with great love” is a quote to live by! so true…i work for a large church (about 5,000 attendees) and we often say “do for a few what you wish you could do for all”….just because you can’t solve everyone’s problems doesn’t mean you can’t solve someone’s!

    1. exactly!! I always try to remind myself.. if you can’t feed 100, then feed one.. i’m pretty sure that’s another MT quote :D

  7. Katreena Short

    Great lessons. Number four is my favorite!


  8. Kristine Foley

    She is an inspiration. Thanks for the post!

  9. Rebekah

    Nothing wrong with taking a break :) Mother Theresa was such an amazing person, will definitely have to read her autobiography.

    1. You should read it! Tell me what you think. Some people thought it was discouraging bc she’s so different from most of us.. but I found it inspirational. I liked how she’s all about doing the small things with great love.. it all adds up.

  10. Chelsea

    Do small things with great love is one of my favorite quotes!

  11. Carly Anderson

    Mother Theresa was such a beautiful person. She had such wise words!

  12. Stefani

    You know, I don’t think I know much about my neighbors, except for what the look like! It’s really something that we miss out on now-a-days. Being neighborly isn’t as valued. I definitely want to try harder to change that. Because it’s so true – how can you go out and love others if you aren’t loving those right next door? :-)

    1. Yeah we tried to meet our neighbors back when we lived in a home and weren’t moving around so much.. but it’s def not the norm anymore. people may have been weirded out. i wish that there was more of a community feel in neighborhoods.

  13. Amby Felix

    LOVE IT!!!! Such amazing quotes and I wish there were more people in the world like Mother Theresa!

  14. Jenn

    Loved this. So inspirational!

  15. songbirdsandbuttons

    I love the “life is a dream, realize it” part of that quote – it’s just so true!

  16. Lauren

    When my husband was sick in the hospital, I was so thankful that one of our friends worked there. He was able to go where I couldn’t and be with Ernie. He said the same thing, that’s why we all have different jobs, so we can help each other when needed. <3

    1. :) Whenever I wish I could be someone else, I try to remind myself that everyone has their own role to play. Is he completely better now?

      1. Lauren

        Yes! It’s incredible how fast he recovered, he’s like a super hero :)

  17. Neely

    Beautiful post, loved everything about this!

  18. Anosa

    love mother teresa, beautiful post x

  19. Jordan

    This made me smile, What an inspiration! Number 2, of course, is my favorite!

    1. Number 2 is one that I have to repeat to myself so often! I always want to think big, but ultimately it shouldn’t be about that. :)

  20. Lissa Cole

    What a neat blog project. Mother Teresa was an amazing woman that more should aspire to be like.

    1. Thank you! :) I wish I could be more like her.. but those little sacrifices she makes everyday. I know it’s difficult. Her character definitely didn’t happen overnight.

  21. Renee Soriano

    I absolutely love reading Mother Theresa’s quotes…they inspire me to be better than I am.

  22. Ashley

    This was a great post. I love numbers 1 and also 4. Remembering to be loving in general is extremely important. I think a lot of times that is the lasting impression you leave on people.

    1. I agree. It’s sometimes the hardest thing to do.. but I think it’s the most meaningful thing you can do in life. :)

  23. Leah from

    Beautiful. I definitely agree. <3

  24. toni d.

    What a beautiful post. I’m at a loss for words, as I’m still trying to soak everything in. Thank you for sharing. Glad to see you’re back safe from your trip. Oh, happy new year!

    1. esther julee

      Thanks Toni! There was so much wisdom packed into her life and that book. The book was hard to digest, so I know what you mean. Happy new year!

  25. Erika

    Esther — thank you so much for sharing this amazing wisdom that I would not have otherwise encountered. These lessons are powerful and I’m saving this post for future reference and inspiration. Wow. Man. I think the one that hit me the most was about the deepest poverty. How fundamentally true!

    1. esther julee

      You’re welcome and thanks for reading! It’s definitely changed my perspective on how to see the people around me. :)

  26. AsianCajuns

    I love this! I really don’t know much about mother Teresa, but since one of my new years resolutions is to make more time for reading, I’m adding this book to my list. I love the idea that everyone has a different role in life. It ties in with Joseph Campbell’s idea of following your bliss. If you put your energy into something you’re passionate about, something beautiful is created.
    Happy new year!
    – Catj

    1. esther julee

      Let me know what you think abut the book! :) Yeah, I feel like a lot of times we are just trying to be like someone else we admire, but we all have to find our own way.

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