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New stamp will honor Mother Teresa

Mention the name Mother Teresa, and you conjure the image of a woman who devoted her life to the poor.

Her deep compassion for those who otherwise might be forgotten won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and other recognition over the years. Her humanitarianism inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to work for the needy.

Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on Aug. 26, 1910, in what is now the Republic of Macedonia. As a young girl she was drawn to the religious life and left her home to serve as a Roman Catholic missionary in India. She became known as Mother Teresa in 1937, when she took her final vows.

Two years later, she founded the Missionaries of Charity, centered in Calcutta. They operated leprosy clinics, orphanages and nursery schools for impoverished children.

Mother Teresa extended her work beyond Calcutta and established foundations outside India.

When she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, she convinced donors to give to the needy the money normally used to fund the awards banquet.

President Reagan presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the same year she began work on behalf of AIDS sufferers in the United States and other countries. In 1987, Congress awarded her the Congressional Gold Medal.

President Clinton and Congress awarded Mother Teresa honorary U.S. citizenship, an honor which has only been bestowed on five others -- the Marquis de Lafayette, William Penn and his wife, Hannah Callowhill Penn, Winston Churchill and Raoul Wallenberg.

The stamp, featuring a portrait of Mother Teresa, was the work of artist Thomas Blackshear of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Mother Teresa died in Calcutta on Sept. 5, 1997. The new stamp goes on sale Sept. 5, the anniversary of her death.

For first-day covers and more information, call (800) STAMP-24.

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