The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River recently announced that two elementary parochial schools in New Bedford will merge at the end of the academic year. Holy Family Holy Name School and St. James-St. John School will combine into the new Saint Teresa of Calcutta School.

"With her historic New Bedford visit, June 14, 1995, the City of New Bedford greatly benefitted from her attendance, which is why the new name of the school is even more meaningful," said Sandy Duxbury, Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment for the Diocese of Fall River Catholic School's office.

Mother Teresa – in full, Saint Teresa of Calcutta – was born in 1910, and baptized Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu to an ethnic Albanian grocer in Northern Macedonia, east of Albania and north of Greece.

Since she was a young girl, she felt strongly the call of God. In 1928, when she was 18, she started her mission, leaving her home to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ireland where she received the name Sister Mary Teresa, after St. Therese of Lisieux. However, it was a train ride on September 10, 1946 that would change her life forever.

It is on this very journey that then-Mother Teresa said she received her "inspiration" to carry out what she described as "the work of God," devoting her life to helping people who lived in the slums of Calcutta.

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On August 17, 1948, she stepped out for the first time in her familiar white and blue sari, which she wore to carry out her work, and in 1950, she created the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a dedicated group of women faithful to the poorest of the poor, particularly to the destitute of India, for which she was bestowed with the world's greatest accolades and medals – the most notable being the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

So where did the inspiration for naming the new school came from?

"The naming process gave families and community members a chance to submit different ideas. We received quite a few suggestions, and carefully went through them and sent the top considerations to Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, for his reflection and prayer, and ultimately making the final decision as Saint Teresa of Calcutta School," Duxbury said.

Registration has been strong so far. The Central School Board decided it would make more sense to invest in updating the present St. James-St. John and the Kennedy Youth Center.

"Enrollment is open for all families, and we encourage people to call and take a tour," Duxbury said. "And we appreciate all the support and prayers. This is a very good and important time to continue with Catholic education."

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