Mother Teresa

3, 4, 5

Participants identify the attributes of a hero who is acting for the common good. Mother Teresa is a hero for her philanthropic work and character. 

PrintOne 30-minute session

Identify the attributes of Mother Teresa and her ministry with the poor as the work of a hero.

  • copies of handout Mother Teresa of Calcutta Quiz (Spanish version available)
  • read aloud copy of Mother Teresa, Sister of the Poor by Patricia Reilly Giff or The Children's Book of Heroes by William J. Bennett 
  • Bennett, William and Michael Hague. The Children's Book of Heroes. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. ISBN: 0684834456
  • Biography: Mother Teresa
  • Giff, Patricia Reilly. Mother Teresa: Sister to the Poor (Women of Our Time). Viking Press, 1986. ISBN: 0670810967


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Read the following quote by Mother Teresa and talk about who Mother Teresa is. 

    Give! Give the love you have received. To those around you. You must love with your time, your hands and your hearts. You need to share all that you have. 

    Discuss whether we can share all that we have. What does it mean to love with your time and love with your hands?

  2. Review the definition of a philanthropist as giving time, talent, and treasure and taking action for the common good. Reflect on how the above quote relates to philanthropy. 

    Define hero as a person who is admired for great courage, special achievements, or noble character. Brainstorm a list of words or phrases that describe the actions of a hero who shows love with their time and their hands. 

  3. Read about Mother Teresa and discuss her actions, work, and character. Information about her is in The Children's Book of Heroes about Mother Teresa or Mother Teresa: Sister to the Poor by Patricia Reilly Giff.  All over the world Mother Teresa was known as a person of good character with personal virtue. How does this contribute to the common good? What can we do to demonstrate good character and personal virtue for the good of all?

  4. Participants express their thoughts about personal character impacting the community. They may write a poem or a song, or a description a hero of their choosing, possibly a nurse or firefighter, inluding ideas about philanthropy.

  5. Use the Mother Teresa quiz handout to review and discuss Mother Teresa's work.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.3 Discuss the importance of personal virtue, good character, and ethical behavior in a democracy.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.