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Happy Birthday Mother Teresa

Happy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy birthday to the woman who gave her life to God and her love in service to the poor and needy of the world, Mother Teresa!  Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia (formerYugoslavia) to Nikollë and Drane Bojkaxhiu.

Gonxha, or “little flower” in Albanian, was the youngest of three children who sought a holy life as early as her teenage years when she joined Sodality, a youth group in her local parish.  This involvement sparked interest in missionary work, whereby she joined the Sisters of Loretto, an Irish Catholic missionary devoted  to working in India—what she referred to as her first “calling”—and changed her name to Teresa (after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux).

Among her many roles inIndia, Mother Teresa (Sister Teresa at that time) taught geography and catechism at St. Mary’s High School inCalcutta.  She later became principal of St. Mary’s, but in 1944 had to give up teaching due to tuberculosis.  During a train ride toDarjeelingfor her yearly retreat (this time in order to rest), Teresa was blessed with her second calling in life, her self-described “call within a call”: to live and work among the poor. She left the Sisters of Loretto in 1948 and pursued her new calling.

Continuing her educational work, Teresa learned basic medicine and treated the sick in their homes.  Not long after, former students of hers followed hew work and treated men, women, and children who had been rejected by area hospitals.  As the needs of the sick and poor grew and more help was needed, Mother Teresa founded several organizations devoted to the cause:

  • Missionaries of Charity in 1950
  • The Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963
  • The contemplative branch of the sisters in 1976
  • The contemplative branch of the brothers in 1979
  • The Missionaries of Charity Fathers in 1984

The Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and Sick & Suffering Co-Workers were also established for those of many faiths who shared her mission.  She also formed the Lay Missionaries of Charity and the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests in 1981.

Mother Teresa’s beacon of light was not without its share of extreme darkness, however.   From as far back as when her work among the poor and needy began, she confessed to experiencing an undeniable inner feeling of separation, even rejection, from God.  She called it “the darkness”.  Yet it was this very feeling that helped establish an even greater sense of communion with God.  By experiencing this intense sense of despair, she was able to help those who felt it even more.

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997, and was recognized both at the time of her death and years later by Pope John Paul II for her holy work and devoted service.  A woman of unwavering commitment, her life presented more than an example, but rather a model of compassion, charity, and love to all of whom she touched, healed, and loved.

If you share Mother Teresa’s birthday, have a blessed and happy birthday!

Sources: motherteresa.org and ewtn.com

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Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Happy Birthday Julia Child!Her family and friends called her “Juke”, “Juju” and “Jukies”, but the world knows her as TV chef and author, Julia Child. Julia Carolyn McWilliams was born in Pasadena, California, on August 15, 1912. The oldest of three children, Julia had a privileged childhood and stood out among her peers as a wild prankster who towered over everyone else at the height of 6 feet, 2 inches.

Julia met Paul, the love of her life, while they were both working for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The happy couple was married in 1946. When Paul was reassigned to a post in Paris, Julia bid “bon voyage” to the U.S. for a temporary post in France. There she fell madly in love with French food, and began living with an enthusiastic joie de vivre for the country.

Her passion for French cooking led her to the world-famous Cordon Bleu cooking school, where she spent six months cooking with the finest chefs in the country – most of which were men! When she graduated, this culinary tour de force wanted to give the world a taste of what she was cooking! Julia mixed it up with fellow Cordon Bleu students Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle to form a cooking school called L’Ecole de Trois Gourmandes (The School of the Three Gourmands).

Wanting to wish “Bon appétit” to mainstream America, the trio adapted French cuisine for mainstream Americans by collaborating on a two-volume cookbook. The 734-page, 3-lb cookbook was released in September of 1961 under the title “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. The book was considered groundbreaking and remained the bestselling cookbook for five straight years after its publication.

Julia promoted her now-famous book on a Boston public television station. Introducing the world to her trademark blunt manner and hearty wit, she gained an immediate fan base by humorously preparing an omelet on air. This landmark first for Julia led her to host her own TV series on cooking for WGBH in 1962. Her beginning salary? $50 a show – this was later raised to $200 per show, plus expenses!

The French Chef TV series, like “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, gave us a new way of looking at food and made Julia a celebrity. The French Chef was eventually syndicated to 96 stations throughout America.

The “set” for all of her television shows – Julia Child’s Kitchen – was designed by Paul Child and is now on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Julia is still in the public eye today. In 2009, the feature film Julie & Julia made its way to the big screen. Starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as writer Julie Powell, the movie covers Powell’s attempt to cook every recipe in Julia’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in a year, while blogging her entire experience. Child and Powell are also the inspiration for the popular current blog www.ayearwithjulia.com.

So as we bid you adieu, tell us – what is YOUR favorite French dish?

Know someone who shares Julia’s birthday?  Send them warm and delectable birthday wishes with Blue Mountain eCards. Happy Birthday Julia Child!

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Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy birthday to the master of cinematic suspense, Alfred Hitchcock!  Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, or “Hitch” to his friends and colleagues, was born August 13, 1899, inLeytonstone,England(just outsideLondon) to William and Emma Hitchcock.

The youngest of three children, Alfred grew up in a strict Roman Catholic family.  Despite a few stringent rules, including reciting the events of his day each night at the foot of his mother’s bed, Alfred experienced a fairly normal childhood.  Educated at

St.IgnatiusCollege, he went on to study engineering and navigation.  One of his first jobs was working for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company, during which time his interest in film began.

He first got work drawing sets and met Alma Reville, an editor, who was only one day younger than Alfred. Laboring further down the food chain than her, they never spoke to each other until the director of the film they were working on got severely ill and Hitchcock was called upon to finish the movie.  He and Alma married in December 1926 and had a daughter, Patricia.

After a number of stops and starts at directing, Hitchcock began his filmography with The Lodger, The Lady Vanishes, and Rebecca.  But it wasn’t until Saboteur in 1942 that studios began placing Hitchcock’s name before the title (i.e. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho).

It’s been said that Hitchcock prided himself on directing and preferred studios for shooting rather than filming on locations because it enabled him more control over the filmmaking elements.  He also made a point of making an appearance in most of his films, which became something of a trademark for Hitchcock.

Not to limit himself to film, Hitchcock also made a name for himself in television in the 1950’s and 60’s with Alfred Hitchcock Presents.   He directed many of the half-hour episodes and played host every week during its run.Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Years later, when given a Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, Hitchcock kidded that he must be nearing the end of his life.  He died the next year of kidney failure on April 29, 1980, in Bel Air,Los Angeles,California, a man of the world and a cinematic legend. 

Know someone who shares Alfred’s birthday?  Send them a frighteningly exciting birthday eCard and make their day!

Sources: PBS.com, biography.com, imdb.com

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