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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

Happy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy Birthday Mother TeresaHappy Birthday Mother Teresa

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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!

Happy Birthday Julia Child!Happy Birthday Julia Child!Happy Birthday Julia Child!Happy Birthday Julia Child!Happy Birthday Julia Child!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

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

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Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!“If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Happy birthday to Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau!  The man who made Walden Pond famous by building a house on its shores and living there for over two years was born on July 12, 1817, inConcord,Massachusetts, to John and Cynthia Thoreau.

Christened “David Henry” in October 1817, Thoreau was named after a recently deceased uncle.  Excelling at academics, Thoreau attended both public and private schools inConcord.  He graduated from Harvard in 1837 and changed his name to “Henry David”.

Trying his hand first at teaching inConcord, he experienced a falling out with his superiors over student disciplinary issues.  Returning to his family’s home to work in his father’s pencil factory, Thoreau soon tried teaching again in aConcordschool his older brother, John, and he founded.  Successful for a few years, the school closed when John became severely ill and Henry subsequently felt overwhelmed.

Once again laboring in the family’s pencil factory, Thoreau was taken under the wing of neighbor and longtime friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, serving as his handyman while Emerson mentored him.  An embracer of Emerson’s Transcendental philosophy (placing spiritual concerns over material success), Thoreau became a writer and published essays and poems in The Dial, a Transcendental journal.  Needing privacy to work, Emerson gave Thoreau permission to build a house on the banks ofWalden Pond on land Emerson owned.  Thoreau lived there for over two years; during that time, he spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax.  That experience of imprisonment turned into his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government”, later famously renamed “Civil Disobedience”.

After leaving Walden Pond, Thoreau published Walden in 1854 to celebratory reviews and a new following.  Although never wealthy, he spent the rest of his days earning a modest income working in the pencil factory, as well as surveying, lecturing, and publishing essays.

Thoreau died in 1862 of tuberculosis, leaving behind volumes of unfinished work.  At his funeral, Emerson delivered a eulogy, noting Thoreau’s quest for knowledge, virtue, and beauty in nature.

Know someone who shares Henry David Thoreau’s birthday?  Send them a birthday ecard to wish them a happy and prosperous birthday.

http://www.psymon.com/walden/quotes.html

http://www.thoreausociety.org/_news_abouthdt.htm

http://www.walden.org/Thoreau

http://www.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau/thoreau_faq.html

Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

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Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!

Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.”

Helen Keller

Happy Birthday to the woman who overcame overwhelming odds afflicted at infancy and went on to live an abundantly rich life, inspiring the world.  Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabamato Arthur H. Keller, an army captain and editor, and Kate Adams.

Born a healthy child, Helen contracted “acute congestion” (possibly scarlet fever or meningitis) at nineteen months, rendering her deaf and blind.  After many attempts to help her and several referrals later, Helen’s parents enlisted the help of Anne Sullivan, a recent graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind who was recommended by the school’s director, Michael Anaganos.

Wasting no time, Anne began working with Helen upon arrival to her family’s home.  SheHappy Birthday, Helen Keller! taught Helen “finger spelling”—sign language letters in the palm of her hand, starting with “doll.”  Initial lessons were marked by bouts of defiance toward Anne, interspersed with attempts at understanding her new language.  Helen would experience difficulty in making connections between word and object.   Subsequent temper tantrums would follow and become a regular occurrence until Anne remedied the situation by isolating the two of them in a small cottage on the family’s estate.  Shortly after their cocooned period together, a breakthrough occurred when Helen learned the word “water” from a pump just outside her home.  By the end of the day, Helen had learned over two dozen words.

As Helen grew up, attended different schools, and her story spread, she began to meet many famous figures from all walks of life, including Mark Twain, who dubbed Anne Sullivan, “The Miracle Worker.”  Anne stayed on as Helen’s companion, long after her lessons out of the unseen-unheard world were established, and helped translate Helen’s studies and lectures while they were atRadcliffCollege, where she graduated from cum laude in 1904.

Over time, Helen expanded her methods of communication, including touch-lip reading, typing, speech, and Braille, as well as finger-spelling.  She used her new found communication skills to write her first book, The Story of My life, with the help of Sullivan and future husband, John Macy. Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!

Sullivan’s health deteriorated over the years.  She lost her eyesight entirely in 1932, whereby Polly Thompson, Keller’s and Sullivan’s secretary, took over as Keller’s companion when Sullivan died in 1936.

Helen and Anne’s journey out of darkness was made into the classic film, The Miracle Worker, directed by Arthur Penn, starring Anne Bancroft as Anne and Patty Duke as Helen in award-winning roles. Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!

In sum, Helen Keller wrote twelve books, including The Story of My Life, The World I Live In, and Out of the Dark.

She died June 1, 1968 at the age of 87, less than a month shy of her birthday, having transformed her world and inspiring our own.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”  Helen Keller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Keller

http://www.biography.com/articles/Helen-Keller-9361967?part=0

http://www.afb.org/section.asp?SectionID=1&TopicID=129

Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!