The name Theresa ranked 487th in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 72nd in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
This name makes a strong showing in state popularity data of the 1960s, but makes few (if any) appearances on lists compiled after that period.
The first bearers of this name might have been from the Greek island of Therasia. Though nothing about the early history of this name can be stated with certainty, it seems to have been first used in Spain and Portugal.
A celebrated and revered bearer of a form of this name was Mother Teresa (1910-1997). Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in present-day Macedonia, she became a Roman Catholic missionary and moved to India in the late 1940s, taking as her task the assistance of the diseased and destitute of the streets of Calcutta. In time, she founded an order of nuns, the Missionaries of Charity, whose sisters help people in need around the world. Her work earned her the title ''the saint of the gutters,'' as well as the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.