What Are the Most Meaningful Quotes by Mother Teresa?

Mother Teresa was a spiritual leader whose words and actions inspired many. We look through her most meaningful quotes on love, humility and more.

Apr 20, 2023By Rosie Lesso, MA Contemporary Art Theory, BA Fine Art

what are most meaningful quotes by mother teresa


Mother Teresa was a world-leading charity worker whose acts of selflessness, care and devotion towards the sick, poor, dying and destitute went on to change the lives of many. Her tireless dedication to ease all forms of human suffering earned her a reputation as a ‘Living Saint’, earning her a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and her legacy lives on today through her organization The Missionaries of Charity. What better way to commemorate the life of this inspirational leader, than with a series of her most meaningful and evocative quotes? We’ve rounded up some of her best sayings into a series of thematic groups that can still offer a message of love, hope and acceptance to all.


Mother Teresa’s Best Quotes on Love

mother teresa children care
Mother Teresa giving care to a child in India


“True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray to God and ask Him to give us the courage to love.”

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the action that we do.”

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

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

“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.”

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Her Meaningful Quotes on Humility

mother teresa time magazine
Mother Teresa photographed by Time Magazine


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

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

“We cannot do great things. Only small things with great love.”

“Joy 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 the sun in a community.”

“Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it.”

“Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.”


Mother Teresa on Poverty

mother teresa poor india
Mother Teresa, phonograph from the New York Times


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

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

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are – in your homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools.”

“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.”

“Poverty was not created by God. It is we who have caused it, you and I through our egotism.”


Quotes About Self-Discipline

mother teresa later years
Mother Teresa in her later years


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

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

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

“If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.”

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

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

“Be faithful in small things for it is in them that your strength lies.”


Acceptance of All

mother teresa charity campaign
Mother Teresa during one of her charity campaigns with the Order of the Missionaries of Charity


“I see somebody dying, I pick him up. I find somebody hungry, I give him food. He can love and be loved. I don’t look at his color, I don’t look at his religion. I don’t look at anything. Every person, whether he is Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist, he is my brother, my sister.”

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

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By Rosie LessoMA Contemporary Art Theory, BA Fine ArtRosie is a contributing writer and artist based in Scotland. She has produced writing for a wide range of arts organizations including Tate Modern, The National Galleries of Scotland, Art Monthly, and Scottish Art News, with a focus on modern and contemporary art. She holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art. Previously she has worked in both curatorial and educational roles, discovering how stories and history can really enrich our experience of art.