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To Love and Be Loved:
The Rhetoric of Mother Teresa
To Love and Be Loved
In 1979 Mother Teresa traveled to Oslo, Norway to accept one of the highest honors in the world, The Nobel Peace Prize, which recognized nearly 50 years of service toward the cause of peace. In today's world peace sometimes seems like a dream when every time we hope we might get it, it moves farther away. Nevertheless, unusual people like Mother Teresa, who work to relieve the suffering of people in distress, are able to maintain hope and go on working day after day toward a better world. It's important, therefore, to look at Mother Teresa's life and message because everyone could benefit from a better and more peaceful world.
Mother Teresa knew when she was fourteen years old that she wanted to be a missionary. She came from a devout catholic family in Skopje, Macedonia where she was born in 1910. At age 21, she joined a convent in Dublin and soon was sent to India where she took her vows. For seventeen years she taught school at St. Mary's High in Calcutta, but it wasn't really what she wanted to do. She longed to help the poor in Calcutta's awful slums where homeless people lay in the gutter dying . One day during a train ride to the mountain town of Darjeeling she had a spiritual experience. She said God called her to establish her own mission and to "serve him among the poorest of the poor."
It took almost a year for Mother Teresa to get permission to go out on her own and help Calcutta's poorest or the poor. She had no money, but she thought since God had called her, He would provide the supplies needed to do the work. She opened a school on faith alone. Soon the money and people she needed began to come to her. A former student of hers "Sister Agnes" became her first follower. Others followers came too, and the Pope gave his approval for her to create a religious order of nuns called the Missionaries of Charity. Their mission was "to care for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people who have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." Mother Teresa opened a home where people could die with dignity, a leper colony, and an orphanage. In 1965 the Pope decreed the Missionaries of Charity an "International Religious Family." They spread out all over the world to places like the Soviet Union, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Missionaries of Charity also began to do relief work after natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and fires. In North America they took on the care of alcoholics, homeless people, and AIDS sufferers.
Mother Teresa received many awards. In 1971 she received the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. She got the Nehru Prize in 1972 for her promotion of international peace and understanding. She received the Balzan Prize and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards in 1979, the same year she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The speech she gave on the day she was awarded the Nobel is the topic of this paper. A speech can tell you a lot about the person who is giving it. In this paper we will look at the structure and organization of her speech, the audience she gave it to, the explicit and implicate content of the speech, and do a fantasy-theme analysis. We will try to answer the question: what is Mother Teresa's rhetorical vision? What does her rhetoric tell us about how she views the world? What does it show her motives are?
Mother Teresa's speech has three parts, an introduction, body, and conclusion. She opens by proposing that "we pray the prayer of St. Frances of Assisi," and explains that she prays it everyday after Holy Communion. By opening this way, she immediately presents herself as a religious leader and establishes credibility. Although the words of the prayer are not recorded in the speech, she says, "I think some of you already have got it -- so we pray together." Most likely she has given the audience members a printed copy to follow so that those who…[continue]
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