Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This biographical essay tackles the early life of Mother Teresa in her Yugoslavian homeland (she was born at Skopje in 1910). Her mother sent her to care for an aunt who was suffering from tuberculosis, a disease that young Agnes Gongia (Mother Teresa) contracted as a result of her exposure. She angrily turned against her mother for sending her to care for the aunt, but her mother was also responsible for her cure. She put Gongia in a convent in the mountains where she was cloistered with the rest of the nuns, and although she was healed in the process, she came away hating a cloistered life. Until that time, her career prospects had tended toward professional singing -- she had a striking voice and actually sang for awhile with an orchestra conducted by her cousin, someone that aroused her romantic interest. Her true vocation did not come to the fore until she talked to a priest (Rossano Brazzi) who had just returned from India, and she realized that she wanted to help others as a nun, but in a very practical way -- perhaps by handling cases that no one else wanted (not unlike caring for her sick aunt). It would not be long then, before Calcutta was to benefit from young Gongia's calling. (Mother Teresa) died in India on Friday, Sept. 5, 1997.