mother teresa lesson modern history church europe

Mother Teresa lesson

As I prepared to teach a new country I take some time to look up famous people from there, which is what led to this Mother Teresa lesson. I never thought of Mother Teresa as controversial until I started researching her. First, what country is she from, did you know there’s an argument on this? Did you know there are people who argue Mother Teresa should be recognized as a saint (which the Catholic church did in 2016), and others think she should be condemned as a destroyer of human rights. This led to a second lesson beyond a Mother Teresa lesson, a lesson on evaluating sources, so what all started as a supplement to a geography lesson became a history lesson and then a logic lesson.

Mother Teresa lesson

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The controversy of Mother Teresa’s birth

When Mother Teresa was born her home was part of Albania. Albania still claims her, but now her birthplace is located in Northern Macedonia (which I learned has its own controversy about names, that was insightful to learn).

Here is my first question for you, when would you study her? Would you study Mother Teresa with Albania or Macedonia?

I chose to leave her in the country she was born in, even if that city is no longer in that country. Now that we’ve studied North Macedonia, I think I made a mistake and probably should have placed her in the country her city is now in.

A few days later, I may change my name again.

Are you ready for the big Mother Teresa controversy?

When I started this Mother Teresa lesson I went to my library to find some books, and they had a great one: Mother Teresa: Itty Bitty Library, but my kids aren’t in elementary school, and I wanted something meatier to teach them about Mother Teresa. The other book on her in the library, Mother Teresa: Helping the Poor was checked out.

So, I headed over to YouTube and typed in Mother Teresa for my kids as we prepared for the lesson. This is what came up:

mother teresa lesson on evaluating resources

Now, that first result was not at all what I expected, and after my teens laughed for quite a while, I finally got them to settle down by agreeing to watch the demon eyes Mother Teresa video, and afterward watching the more serious Mother Teresa: Biography.

After watching this, and the carefully presented “facts,” we were inclined to think poorly of Mother Teresa. It really did a great job of presenting her in such a way you think she may be the devil incarnate. 

With that, we headed over to the Mother Teresa video I had intended to watch.


It’s much shorter, you’ll notice.

Who is Mother Teresa really?

After we watched both of those videos we talked about how the first one has an agenda.

We talked about how the information was presented in the first video to put her in a negative light, and how those same facts could be used differently.

mother teresa lesson modern history church europe

This turned into a great comparison to today’s news, how reporters will choose the facts that fit the story they want to write.

I keep looking at this as if I should have more to say, but really, this is one of those weird times that I can pretty much don’t have a lot to say, because it’s nice and simple activity.

More history lessons that started off as geography lessons

mother teresa lesson evaluating resources


2 responses to “Mother Teresa lesson”

  1. Great lesson. It is an important lesson to learn to check the facts, the writer’s agenda and how to use ones own critical thinking skills.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. This is fascinating. I have never thought that Mother Teresa was a controversial figure. And, interestingly, we also discussed just today how many news sources and political figures cherry-pick and bend the facts to tell their story.

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