How Mother Teresa's Family Has Branched Out

5 Groups Have Priests and Men and Women Religious

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ROME, OCT. 19, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- Everyone knows about the Missionaries of Charity. Less known are the other branches of the religious family inspired by Mother Teresa's spirituality.



Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, the largest of the branches, in 1948. They number about 4,500 women religious.

The Brothers Missionaries of Charity were founded by Mother Teresa and Brother Andrew on March 25, 1963. They now number about 400. They are dedicated to charity works particularly suited to men: men's leprosariums, homes for drug addicts, AIDS patients, alcoholics and former prisoners.

The feminine contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity was founded by Mother Teresa and Sister Nirmala Joshi on June 25, 1976, in the Bronx section of New York. The sisters, numbering close to 100, are not strictly cloistered, but, as their founder described them, they are "contemplatives in the world." They spend much of the day and at times of the night in prayer and eucharistic adoration. They work three to five hours a day with the poorest of the poor.

The masculine contemplative branch was founded on March 19, 1979, by Mother Teresa and Father Sebastian. The brothers, who number about 30, serve the poorest in prisons, hospitals, streets and among nomads.

The Missionaries of Charity priests were founded by Mother Teresa and Father Joseph Langford on June 26, 1984. Mother Teresa understood that the most profound poverty of men is spiritual, and that it can only be eradicated by Jesus' priestly ministry. In this spirit, the religious community of priests, which today numbers about 25, carries out its ministry in streets and slums and on the outskirts of large cities.

There also are thousands of volunteers, of every religion and social class, who share in Mother Teresa's spirit and work.