RELIGION
09/04/2016 01:32 pm ET

14 Vintage Photos Of Mother Teresa Show A Saint In The Making

Everyone starts small.

Before Mother Teresa became known throughout the world for her humanitarian work, she was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, a young girl trying to decide what to do after she felt God calling her to live a holy life.

Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia to a devout Catholic family of Albanian descent. She learned generosity from her mother, Drana Bojaxhiu, who reportedly invited the city’s poor to dine with the family for dinner. 

The young girl started feeling a calling to live as a Catholic nun when she was just 12 years old. 

When she was 18, Bojaxhiu traveled to Ireland to join a religious congregation known as the Sisters of Loreto and took on the name of Sister Mary Teresa.

She moved to India in 1929, serving as a teacher, and later a principal, at a high school for girls in Calcutta. On May 24, 1937 she took her final vows, the last step needed for her to become a full-fledged religious sister. As was the custom for the sisters in her order, she took on the title “Mother” to mark the occasion.

In 1946, Mother Teresa felt drawn to leave the high school and work in Calcutta’s slums. In 1950, she founded a new religious congregation for Catholic nuns, the Missionaries of Charity. From its humble beginnings as a charity that ran an open-air school for the poor, the Missionaries of Charity has since grown to become a global organization, with thousands of volunteers working in over 130 countries

Mother Teresa won numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died on September 5 at the age of 87. She will officially be declared a Catholic saint on September 4, during a ceremony at the Vatican. 

Scroll through the photo collection below to see images of the young woman who would go on to become a “living saint.”

  • Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on the day of her confirmation. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu on the day of her confirmation. 
  • Future Mother Teresa of Calcutta with her sister Aga (L), and brother Lazar. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Future Mother Teresa of Calcutta with her sister Aga (L), and brother Lazar. 
  • Agnes surrounded by her classmates. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes surrounded by her classmates. 
  • Agnes poses here with her grandmother.
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes poses here with her grandmother.
  • Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu with her sister Aga, in Macedonian traditional costume. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu with her sister Aga, in Macedonian traditional costume. 
  • At the center, behind the priest in black, stands the future Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    At the center, behind the priest in black, stands the future Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
  • Agnes at the age of 18. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes at the age of 18. 
  • Agnes a few days before her departure to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English, the language the Si
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes a few days before her departure to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English, the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school children in India. 
  • Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, future Mother Teresa of Calcutta (C), with her sister Aga (L) and a friend, a few days before her depa
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, future Mother Teresa of Calcutta (C), with her sister Aga (L) and a friend, a few days before her departure to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland.
  • The future Mother Teresa of Calcutta, with another future nun during their novitiate, in Darjeeling, India.
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    The future Mother Teresa of Calcutta, with another future nun during their novitiate, in Darjeeling, India.
  • The future Mother Teresa in Calcutta. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    The future Mother Teresa in Calcutta. 
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta standing on the right, the day she took the vows. 
    Vittoriano Rastelli via Getty Images
    Mother Teresa of Calcutta standing on the right, the day she took the vows. 
  • Mother Teresa in Paris in 1965.
    Keystone-France via Getty Images
    Mother Teresa in Paris in 1965.
  • The Catholic missionary Mother Teresa trying to calm down a newborn orphan, by placing her hands on his head, in a clini
    Keystone-France via Getty Images
    The Catholic missionary Mother Teresa trying to calm down a newborn orphan, by placing her hands on his head, in a clinic of Calcutta on September 6, 1971. 
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Mother Teresa's Legacy
CONVERSATIONS