Simple Ways to Celebrate Saint Teresa of Calcutta

The feast of Saint Teresa of Calcutta is celebrated each year on September 5th. Formerly referred to as Mother Teresa, Saint Teresa of Calcutta is most known for her selfless acts of kindness and her dedication to helping the poor. She is the patron said of World Youth Day, Missionaries of Charity and the Archdiocese of Calcutta. 

Saint Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 in Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. At a very young age, her parents instilled a strong devotion to faith and to serve others. When she turned 18, she left home to join the Sisters of Loreto, a community of Irish nuns. This is where her mission to serve the poorest of the poor began! 

After teaching in Calcutta for a few years, Saint Teresa felt compelled to do more. She experienced what is referred to as "a call within a call" - where she felt God was urging her to leave the convent and serve the poor in Calcutta. She cared for the sick and dying. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, an organization that now serves the poor in 130+ countries around the world. 

Saint Teresa lived a life of poverty, simplicity and humility. She always put others before herself, and loved to serve. Her selflessness and dedication to others is an inspiration!

Image courtesy of St. Margaret Mary

Inspiring quotes by Saint Teresa of Calcutta

While there are so many moving quotes by Saint Teresa, below are a few of our favorites that we felt called to share. 

“I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world."

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” 

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“A life not lived for others is not a life.”

"Prayer in action is love, love in action is service."

“True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray to God and ask Him to give us the courage to love.”

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it.”

Simple Ways to Celebrate Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Make blessing bags for the homeless

Saint Teresa of Calcutta devoted her time to serving others. In honor of her devotion to serve, we encourage you to make blessing bags for the homeless. Using a large Ziploc bag, include a few of the following: 

  • Socks 
  • Gloves or beanie (for the winter)
  • Bandages or any first aid necessities
  • Wet wipes or hand sanitizer 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Non perishable foods (Ideas include tuna, crackers, nuts)
  • Hair brush 

Keep the blessing bags in your car and distribute as needed. 

Decorate pencils

Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, "I am like a little pencil in his hand. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it." 

Use this as inspiration to decorate pencils using washi tape and/or stickers. Discuss the meaning of the quote above with your children. 

Smile at a stranger

This is as simple and sweet as it sounds - Smile at a stranger! In a world where we are always go-go-go, take a moment to stop, slow down and connect with someone. A smile goes a long way - It even has the power to turn someone's day around! We challenge you to smile, even when you don't feel like it. :) 

Image courtesy of Andy Hay

Eat Indian Food

Saint Teresa lived and died in Calcutta, India. It's only fitting that we celebrate her feast day by enjoying delicious Indian food. Pick up dinner from your favorite Indian restaurant, or try to make curry at home. 

Image courtesy of  Thérèse Westby

Pray the "Flying Novena"

The "Flying Novena" aka the "Emergency Novena" involves praying the memorare prayer for nine days to receive a quick response from Mary. 
Say the prayer below nine times, focusing on your intention. Recite the prayer one last time (on the 10th time) in thanksgiving for Mary hearing your intention. 
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help
or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

Serve others 

Service was extremely important to Saint Teresa. Spend some time today by serving others! A few ideas include: volunteer at church, offer to help a family member or neighbor in need, donate items to a shelter, cook a meal for the homeless. Ask your family to serve with you!  

Image courtesy of Jennie Brown

Bake cupcakes and celebrate with family

Sometimes, a little sweet treat and family time is all we need. Bake cupcakes and invite family to come over to celebrate Saint Teresa. Share your favorite stories about her, watch a video or read a biography about her life. Discuss and share ways to serve others around you. Use Saint Teresa's life as inspiration to serve those in need. 

How are you planning to celebrate Saint Teresa today? Let us know in the comments below! 


Looking for inspiration on how to celebrate the liturgical seasons and feast days? 

Living The Seasons: Simple Ways To Celebrate The Beauty Of Your Faith Throughout The Year is a full-color guide to creatively celebrate our faith. Each page is filled with beautiful inspiration with effortless directions to celebrate feast days, holy days and seasons within the Church. This will be your resource for living liturgically! Now available to order on our website

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