Mother Teresa Quotes

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Born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Saint Teresa of Calcutta was an Albanian-Indian nun and missionary.

Known around the world simply as Mother Teresa, her work in founding the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 focused much-needed attention on the plight of the poor and needy.

In her lifetime, Mother Teresa helped establish homes for those dying of HIV/AIDs, leprosy, and tuberculosis, as well as providing food, water, and healthcare to the poorest men, women and children of India. After her death on 5 September 1997, she was officially canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as St. Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.

She remains a controversial figure, alternately praised and criticized for her charity work, her outspoken views on abortion and contraception, and the poor conditions in the houses she established for the dying.

Mother Teresa’s words are known and repeated around the world for their message of love, hope, and charity. We’ve collected 115 of the best Mother Teresa quotes to inspire you to help others and make the world a better place.

Mother Teresa quote "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

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

We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.

God made the world for the delight of human beings – if we could see His goodness everywhere, His concern for us, His awareness of our needs: the phone call we’ve waited for, the ride we are offered, the letter in the mail, just the little things He does for us throughout the day. As we remember and notice His love for us, we just begin to fall in love with Him because He is so busy with us – you just can’t resist Him. I believe there’s no such thing as luck in life, it’s God’s love, it’s His.

Mother teresa quote "It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving"
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa

The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver.

If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.

Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.

Work without love is slavery.

"May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in"
“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” – Mother Teresa

Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.

Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.

Mother Teresa quote "Give, but give until it hurts"
“Give, but give until it hurts.” – Mother Teresa

Intense love does not measure it just gives.

Our poor people are great people, a very lovable people, They don’t need our pity and sympathy. They need our understanding love and they need our respect. We need to tell the poor that they are somebody to us that they, too, have been created, by the same loving hand of God, to love and be loved.

Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta

I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Ask yourself “How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?” Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love.

Mother Teresa quote "Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls"
“Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.” – Mother Teresa

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.

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.

Life is a game, play it.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.

"When you don't have anything, then you have everything"
“When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.” – Mother Teresa

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.

If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.

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

Mother Teresa quote "If you judge people, you have no time to love them"
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa

People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

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

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

Mother Teresa quote "Peace begins with a smile"
“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.

When you know how much God is in love with you then you can only live your life radiating that love.

A Simple Path

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.

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

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples"
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.

Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.

A Gift for God: Prayers and Meditations

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

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

Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Mother Teresa quote "A life not lived for others is not a life"
“A life not lived for others is not a life.” – Mother Teresa

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

If I look at the mass I will never act.

Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.

Smile at each other. Smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other – it doesn’t matter who it is – and that will help to grow up in greater love for each other.

Mother Teresa quote "Prayer is the mortar that holds our house together"
“Prayer is the mortar that holds our house together.” – Mother Teresa

A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.

We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person"
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” – Mother Teresa

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 am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I 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?

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers
Mother Teresa quote "Live simply so others may simply live"
“Live simply so others may simply live.” – Mother Teresa

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight; build it anyway.

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.

Joy must be one of the pivots of our life. It is the token of a generous personality. Sometimes it is also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. A person who has this gift often reaches high summits. He or she is like sun in a community.

Mother Teresa quote "The greatest science in the world; in heaven and on earth; is love"
“The greatest science in the world; in heaven and on earth; is love.” – Mother Teresa

We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.

He who is faultless does not care for the opinion of others.

In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.

Mother Teresa quote "Everything that is not given is lost"
“Everything that is not given is lost.” – Mother Teresa

I fear just one thing : Money! Greed was what motivated Judas to sell Jesus.

If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.

I have more often as my companion ‘darkness.’ And when the night becomes very thick- and it seems to me as if I will end up in hell – then I simply offer myself to Jesus.

Profound joy of the heart is like a magnet that indicates the path of life.

St Teresa quote "Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons"
“Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.” – Mother Teresa

We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.

It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.

I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve becuase I love Jesus.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa quote "One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody"
“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.” – Mother Teresa

Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.

There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things.

Never be so busy as not to think of others.

The Joy in Living: A Guide to Daily Living

Jesus said love one another. He didn’t say love the whole world.

Mother Teresa quote"I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness"
“I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.” – Mother Teresa

The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.

I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.

I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.

There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough.

"Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand"
“Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.” – Mother Teresa

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

Each of us is merely a small instrument; all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear.

The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.

The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.

Mother Teresa quote "Joy is strength"
“Joy is strength.” – Mother Teresa

Keep the corners of your mouth turned up. Speak in a low, persuasive tone. Listen; be teachable. Laugh at good stories and learn to tell them…For as long as you are green, you can grow.

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.

In loving one another through our works we bring an increase of grace and a growth in divine love.

"God gives us things to share, God doesn't give us things to hold"
“God gives us things to share, God doesn’t give us things to hold.” – Mother Teresa

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.

Love: A Fruit Always in Season
Mother Teresa Quote "Life is a challenge, we must take it"
“Life is a challenge, we must take it.” – Mother Teresa

One truly must have suffered oneself to help others.

Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself. Prayer begets faith, faith begets love, and love begets service on behalf of the poor.

Mother Teresa quotes "If you give what you do not need, it is not giving"
“If you give what you do not need, it is not giving.” – Mother Teresa

When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again.

I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.

Jesus gives me the opportunity to feed Him by feeding those who are hungry, to clothe Him by clothing those who are naked, to heal Him by caring for those who are sick, and to offer Him shelter by housing those who are homeless and unwanted.

No Greater Love
Mother Teresa quote "To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it"
“To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” – Mother Teresa

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these Mother Teresa quotes!

If you want to learn more about the nun who became a saint, Mother Teresa’s own writings and the recently revised biography by Katherine Spink are great places to start.

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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