Dignitaries and celebrities — including Princess Diana — who encountered the tiny four-foot-eleven figure all agreed she was an extraordinary woman. Journalists were no exception. "She exemplified the Christian virtue of self-giving in a most dramatic way," said Richard Ostling, TIME's religion correspondent. "She brought back the image of the old-fashioned, self-giving nun at a time when modern feminist Catholic images were coming to the fore."
Her legacy includes 517 missions in 100 countries, and a near 30-year history of inspiring people around the world. It was only when a British television documentary profiled the Calcutta nun in 1969 that donations and volunteers began to flood in, and Mother Teresa became a household name. Ten years later she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. "She was not a publicity seeker," said Ostling. "But in terms of public image, there is nobody comparable to her." Her tireless efforts have enriched the lives of the poor; today, the world itself is much poorer for her passing.