Mother Teresa Quotes 27 Sourced Quotes

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was an Albanian-born Indian citizen, Roman Catholic Sister, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Here are 27 real Mother Teresa quotes ordered by their popularity online. The most quoted quotes on the web appear first. Questionable and fake quotes are excluded. Sources and related information are shown after each quote. We hope you find these quotes useful. If there is anything we can do to improve this article, your feedback is welcome. If you find these quotes helpful, please share them.

1. “I call, I cling, I want … and there is no One to answer … no One on Whom I can cling … no, No One. Alone … Where is my Faith … even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness … My God … how painful is this unknown pain … I have no Faith … I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart … & make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them … because of the blasphemy … If there be God … please forgive me … When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me … and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Undated letter indicating that, at least at times, Mother Teresa's theological doubts were strong enough to be regarded as Christian atheism, reported by Time (9 March 2007), and quoted in "Was Mother Teresa an atheist?", in The Guardian (24 August 2007)

2. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Mary Alice Warner, ‎Dayna Beilenson (1987) Women of faith and spirit: their words & thoughts, p. 42

3. “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Interview by Edward W. Desmond in TIME magazine (4 December 1989)

4. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Mother Teresa Reflects on Working Toward Peace, (essay, Santa Clara University, retrieved August 2012).

5. “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted by Malcolm Muggeridge in Something Beautiful for God (1971)

6. “I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No. I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: In: Malcolm Muggeridge, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, A Gift For God: Prayers and Meditations, New York: Harper & Row, 1975. p. 61; Cited in: M. Dhavamony. "Mother Teresa's mission of love for the poor" in: Studia missionalia, Vol 39. (1990), p. 137

7. “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?,’ rather He will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Quoted in: Honor Books, ‎W. B. Freeman (2004), God's Little Devotional Book for Girls, p. 205

8. “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted by Christopher Hitchens in The Missionary Position, (Verso, 1995), page 11

9. “Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love....The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2007) by Brian Kolodiejchuk

10. “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Love, A Fruit Always In Season : Daily Meditations from the Words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1987) edited by Dorothy S. Hunt

11. “We are misunderstood, we are misrepresented, we are misreported. We are not nurses, we are not doctors, we are not teachers, we are not social workers. We are religious, we are religious, we are religious.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Angelo Devananda, Daily Prayers with Mother Teresa (Fount, 1987), p. 91

12. “Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me, because Jesus has very clearly stated, ‘Be ye holy as my father in heaven is holy.’ So let us pray for each other that we grow in love for each other, and through this love become holy as Jesus wants us to be for he died out of love for us. One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, ‘You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you.’ And she joined her hands together and said, ‘Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me’.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source and Related Info: Address to the National Prayer Breakfast (3 February 1994).
• Unsourced variant or paraphrase: I think it is very good when people suffer. To me, that is like the kiss of Jesus.

13. “People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Mother Teresa in Emergency Rule period, 1975-77; quoted in: David Aikman (1998), Great souls: six who changed the century, p. 244

14. “From now on you must pray for your people and yourself three times a day.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Remarks to Mengistu Haile Mariam during the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine, as quoted by Dawit Wolde Giorgis in Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia, (The Red Sea Press Inc. 1989), p. 213

15. “I am so pleased with all the good work you are doing for world peace and for people in so many countries. May we continue to work together and to share together all for the glory of God and for the good of man.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: To Sri Chinmoy, as quoted in The Wings of Joy : Finding Your Path to Inner Peace (1997) by Sri Chinmoy

16. “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear. The tongue moves but does not speak.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Letter to Michael van der Peet (September 1979), quoted in "Mother Teresa Did Not Feel Christ's Presence for Last Half of Her Life, Letters Reveal", Fox News (24 August 2007)

17. “Be kind to each other in your homes. Be kind to those who surround you. I prefer that you make mistakes in kindness rather than that you work miracles in unkindness. Often just for one word, one look, one quick action, and darkness fills the heart of the one we love.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Quoted in: Charlotte Gray. Mother Teresa: Her Mission to Serve God by Caring for the Poor. G. Stevens, (1988), p. 53

18. “I don't know what to say since I don't know what is happening [in Albania]. I can say only one thing. My Albanian people are always in my heart. I pray very much to our Lord that His peace may come to our hearts, in our families and in all the world. I pray for Albania, that the Lord may help its leaders to see clearly because if they want to live in peace, they should love one another.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Louis Zanga "Mother Teresa's visit to Albania", Radio Free Europe Research, (23 August 1989)

19. “I've never seen the poor people being so familiar with their head of state as they were with her. It was a beautiful lesson for me.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: On meeting Michèle Duvalier, quoted by Christopher Hitchens in The Missionary Position, (Verso, 1995), page 5

20. “I do not know anything about Charles Keating's work or his business or the matters you are dealing with. I only know he has been kind and generous to God's poor, and always ready to help whenever there was a need... Whenever someone asks me to speak to a judge, I always tell them to pray, to look into [their] heart, and to do what Jesus would do in that circumstance. And this is what I am asking of you, your Honor.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Letter to Judge Lance Ito, requesting clemency for Charles Keating (January 18 1992), as quoted by Christopher Hitchens in The Missionary Position, (Verso, 1995), page 67

21. “Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Worldwide Laws of Life : 200 Eternal Spiritual Principles‎ (1998) by John Templeton, p. 448

22. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Mother Teresa's Reaching Out In Love - Stories told by Mother Teresa, Compiled and Edited by Edward Le Joly and Jaya Chaliha, Barnes & Noble, 2002, p. 122

23. “I do not agree with a big way of doing things. What matters is the individual. If we wait till we get numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers and we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Mother Teresa's Reaching Out In Love - Stories told by Mother Teresa, Compiled and Edited by Edward Le Joly and Jaya Chaliha, Barnes & Noble, 2002, p. 122

24. “If I ever become a Saint — I surely be one of ‘darkness’. I will continually be absent from Heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: As quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2007) by Brian Kolodiejchuk

25. “What do I labour for? If there be no God—there can be no soul.—If there is no soul then Jesus—You also are not true... Jesus don't let my soul be deceived—nor let me deceive anyone. In the call You said that I would have to suffer much.—Ten years—my Jesus, You have done to me according to Your will—and Jesus hear my prayer—if this pleases You—if my pain and suffering—my darkness and separation gives You a drop of consolation—my own Jesus, do with me as You wish—as long as You wish, without a single glance at my feelings and pain... I beg of You only one thing—please do not take the trouble to return soon.—I am ready to wait for You for all eternity.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Letter dated September 3, 1959 — as quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2007) edited by Brian Kolodiejchu, p. 193-4

26. “Often I wonder what does really God get from me in this state — no faith, no love — not even in feelings. The other day I can't tell you how bad I felt. — There was a moment when I nearly refused to accept. — Deliberately I took the Rosary and very slowly and without even meditating or thinking – I said it slowly and calmly. The moment passed — but the darkness is so dark, and the pain is so painful. – But I accept whatever He gives and I give whatever He takes. People say they are drawn closer to God — seeing my strong faith. – is this not deceiving people? Every time I have wanted to tell the truth – ‘that I have no faith’ – the words just do not come – my mouth remains closed. – And yet I still keep on smiling at God and all.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: Letter to Bishop Lawrence Trevor Picachy (September 1962), as quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2009) by Brian Kolodiejchuk, 2009, p. 238 ISBN 0307589234 ISBN 9780307589231

27. “But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? … By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

—Mother Teresa

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Source: National Prayer Breakfast speech, Washington, D.C. (3 February 1994).

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