“In the defining moments of our lives – whether as a student watching a videotape or a president facing a nation – values count for little without the willingness to put them into practice. Without moral courage, our brightest virtues rust from lack of use. With it, we build piece by piece a more ethical world” (Kidder 3). Moral courage does not need to be recognized in order to exist, but it is often in the most extreme cases that moral courage must be at its highest levels, such as when great wrongs are committed and one individual, regardless of hardship or lack of external support, continues to work in keeping with their own personal values. A shining example of such an individual is Mother Teresa, a woman who fearlessly and selflessly endured hardships and criticisms in order to help the poorest of the poor while others chose to do nothing despite the suffering in front of them.
It is frequently reported that Mother Teresa was born on August 27, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, but this date is somewhat erroneous. According to Kathryn Spink (1997), Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, and was christened under that name on August 27. Since the day she was dedicated to God was much more important to her than her actual date of birth, she didn’t worry too much about correcting the date. Her parents were Nikolle and Drandafille Bojaxhiu. Her father worked as a contractor and her mother was a housewife and mother to Agnes and her two older siblings. “Mother Teresa’s family was a devoted Catholic family, they prayed every evening and went to church almost every day. It was her family’s generosity, care for the poor and the less fortunate that made a great impact on young Mother’s Teresa’s life. By age 12, she had made up her mind, she realized that her vocation was aiding the poor” (D’sSouza, 2008). She remained with her family while she finished her .formal education, remaining dedicated through this entire time to her early aspirations to spend her life helping poor people despite the usual temptations of youth and social pressures placed on women to marry and have children.