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The Real Transformers

The Real Transformers
Spring 2010 | Volume 33, Number 1 | Features

Making History: Catalysts for Change

Mother Teresa

Mother Theresa
Photo of Mother Teresa by Zatletic/Curtesy of

Transformational leaders often point beyond themselves to great ideas and principles.


Mother Teresa’s vision to care for the poorest of the poor came in 1946 when she experienced what she termed “the call within the call.”

Already committed to a life of poverty and service as a nun, she felt God meant her to deepen that commitment. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them,” she wrote. “It was an order.”

Mother Teresa began this work in 1948. With no income, she had to resort to begging for food and supplies. At one point she recorded in her diary, “The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home, I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food, and health.”

Although she died in 1997, the religious order Mother Teresa founded, the Missionaries of Charity, is still thriving. It has more than 4,000 nuns running orphanages, AIDS hospices, and charity centers worldwide.

“Mother Teresa is a wonderful example of a servant leader,” says Franz. “She never set out to be famous, yet her humbleness and faithfulness were so profound that people couldn’t stop talking about them.”

Out of her faithfulness, humility, and sacrifice grew a certain moral authority that inspired people to embrace her calling for themselves. “I think the life of someone who is so firmly fixed on a selfless ‘true north’ stands out like a beacon in the night,” adds Franz.


Winston Churchill

Rosa Parks

Martin Luther King Jr.

Mother Teresa

Oprah Winfrey

Steve Jobs

Nelson Mandela

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