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City Year Founding Story: Love & Joy

Art Installation by Katrina Majkut

Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.

– Mother Teresa, Adapted from Rabindranath Tagore

For more than 45 years, Mother Teresa comforted the poor, the dying, and the unwanted around the world. Over the years, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity grew from 12 to thousands, serving the “poorest of the poor” in 450 centers world-wide. She rescued homeless and dying people from the gutters and garbage dumps in Calcutta. Her work spread from Calcutta to New York to Albania, and she was one of the pioneers of establishing homes for people with AIDS.

Through her work, Mother Teresa was a living example of her belief that love is embodied, or given true form, through service. At its most powerful, service is an expression of selfless love, care, empathy, and concern for others. Although Mother Teresa encountered pain, sickness, and extreme poverty on a daily basis, she also taught that the path of service is the path of joy. Joy emerges from new experiences and new relationships that are built through service, from acknowledging the human dignity in all people, from feeling personally useful in the world, and from engaging in service as an act of love.

About the Artist: This photo is of a site-specific art installation called Art on the Wind by artist Katrina Majkut at Larz Anderson Park in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Pinwheels were made by local school children and constructed using recycled materials. The projects sought to teach students about the importance of renewable resources, art and social responsibility. Photo by Andy Dean.