Quotes from Mother Teresa

When the troubles of the world overwhelm you, reflecting on a few quotes by Mother Teresa can inspire hope and a renewed focus on living a life of love, service, and faith.

One of the great humanitarians of our age, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, as she was called after her canonisation in 2016, showed the world how to love and serve the less fortunate around us. Small and diminutive in size and stature, she made up for it in her zeal and dedication to the people she loved and helped—most often those who were seen as outcasts and marginalized by their communities. When the devoted nun of Albanian descent won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she donated her entire cash prize to the poor in India.


In her long life, she touched the lives of millions through her presence and acts of charity, as well as the truths she shared from her experience of faith. As someone who embodied the servant nature of Christ, being his hands and feet to others, she left us with enduring wisdom to inspire our faith. In her words and especially in her actions, we see that a life of love—however big or small, quiet or recognised—is significant, meaningful, and powerful.

Reflect on these quotes by Mother Teresa throughout your day-to-day. Share one in a note to a friend to encourage them. Or print and display one in your home or office cubicle to keep her wisdom top of mind. After all, the small things you do in love today can and will change tomorrow.

Mother Teresa Quotes

mother teresa quotes
  • “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
  • “Peace begins with a smile.”
  • “We fear the future because we are wasting today.”
  • “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.”
  • “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
  • “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
  • “Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
  • “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
  • “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
  • “A life not lived for others is not a life.”
  • “I prefer you to make mistakes in kindness than work miracles in unkindness.”
  • “If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.”
  • “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”


closeup of mother teresa in her nun habit looking skyward
  • “God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”
  • “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
  • “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
  • “‎Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
  • “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
  • “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
  • “Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it.”
  • “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.”
  • “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
  • “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
  • “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
  • “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.”
  • “One of the realities we’re all called to go through is to move from repulsion to compassion and from compassion to wonderment.”
  • “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realise it.”


mother teresa quotes
  • “Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”
  • “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”
  • “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
  • “Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
  • “Do not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.”
  • “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.”
  • “Life is a challenge; we must take it.”
  • “Poverty was not created by God. It is we who have caused it, you and I through our egotism.”
  • “People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centred. Love them anyway.”
  • “The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver.”
  • “One filled with the joy preaches without preaching.”
  • “I do not pray for success; I ask for faithfulness.”
  • “I know I am touching the living body of Christ in the broken bodies of the hungry and the suffering.”
  • “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”


mother teresa quotes
  • “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
  • “Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.”
  • “Work without love is slavery.”
  • “The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.”
  • “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
  • “Yes, you must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes gods out of power, riches, and pleasure make you to forget that you have been created for greater things.”
  • “We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.”
  • “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”
  • “We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.”