The Sisters known as the Loreto Sisters belong to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded in 1609 by a twenty-four-year-old woman, Mary Ward. Mary Ward and her first companions established their first school at St Omer (now in France) in a house, which is still there, although it is now a private residence.
Today the congregation is engaged in a wide variety of new ministries: literacy programmes, spiritual direction, counseling, managing shelters for homeless women as well as several aspects of the movement for greater justice and peace in the world. They are active in every continent. The Loreto Sisters operate some 150 schools worldwide, educating over 70,000 students.
At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her home and her home town Skopje to join the Sisters of Loreto, in Dublin, Ireland. There she chose the name Teresa after her patron St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She learned English there, because English was the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach schoolchildren in India. Although her stay in Dublin was short, the sisters remember her as “very small, shy and quiet.”
On 1st of December 1928 she leaves for India by ship. During her traveling she wrote the song “Farewell” (originally written on Croatian – “Oproshtaj”) in which she expresses her thoughts and feelings about her home town and family and about the distant and unknown India. She arrives in Calcutta, India on 6th of January 1929.
On 25th of May 1931 she gives her first vows as Sister Teresa in Darjeeling and teaches geography and catechism in St. Mary’s School in Calcutta.