Struggles of a Pious Leader

A collection of Mother Teresa’s private letters are being published as part of the campaign for her sainthood.
(ABCNEWS)

Throughout Her Life Mother Teresa Wrote Privately of Struggles With Her Faith

Aug. 24, 2007 — ABCNEWS

In dozens of letters spanning 66 years, Mother Teresa described the “emptiness” she felt and confessed her struggles with faith and the existence of heaven in pages she had planned to have destroyed.

A decade after her death, they have been published in the book “Come By My Light” as part of the petition for her sainthood.

“The lives of the saints are personal, but they are not private,” said The Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, who is publishing the letters. “The documents are really are quite valuable in that they speak of her own holiness and the value & to people who can relate to what she was going through.”

They offer surprising revelations, including one instance in which she writes, “no faith — no love — no zeal — [The saving of] souls holds no attraction — Heaven means nothing & it has been like this more or less from the time I started ‘the work.'”

Her work began when she heard God tell her to open a mission in Calcutta. The book includes her Jan. 13, 1947 letter in which she wrote to the Archbishop of Calcutta to request permission to found her own order, the Missionaries of Charity.

Several years later, she composed a letter as an exercise from her spiritual adviser to express her devotion to Jesus and passionately wrote, “I want to satiate your thirst with every single drop of blood that you can find in me. Don’t allow me to do you wrong in any way.”

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Click here to read the letter (courtesy of Doubleday).
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To millions her work still shines as the example of Christlike devotion. It brought her the Nobel Peace Prize and beatification by Pope John Paul. But once she began her work in India she never heard God’s voice again. Nine years after she founded her mission in Calcutta she wrote, “What do I labour for? If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no Soul then Jesus — You also are not true.”

“Even the sisters around her had no idea of the length and the depth,” Kolodiejchuk said.

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Faith vs. Benevolence

As many Catholics learn how long she suffered this crisis of faith, they are even more awed by her deeds.

“Unlike the other saints, who might have been going through their day with a lot of consolation from their prayer, Mother Teresa was running on empty and doing all these wonderful works,” said Father James Martin.

But while the faithful see her struggle as inspirational, some atheists are taking it as confirmation of their own rational doubts and proof that the faithless can display enormous benevolence.

“Of course nonbelievers all over the world display compassion,” said Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “She was forced to go through the motions and admitted her own hypocrisy.”

Ten years after her death, her Missionaries of Charity claims to have over a million volunteers comforting the sick and orphaned in 40 countries. This book is certain to stir those who pray the Vatican will canonize the nun from the slums. If it does, Mother Teresa may just be the patron saint of skeptics.

Mother Teresa’s website
Her Words
Her Biography
A very controversial interview of Christopher Hitchens. The title:
“THE MISSIONARY POSITION:Mother Teresa’s Crimes Against Humanity”
It was published by Danny Postel on 9-15-1998 and published in the LiP Magazine[http://www.lipmagazine.org] .

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TIME MAGAZINE Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007: “Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith” … A MUST READ!!!
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In order not to have to call myself a hypocrite, I have to add a few words of my own …
I have visited Calcutta in summer 1981 during a train-trip criss-crossing the Indian subcontinent. In order to get a picture of the dimensions – the city itself has a population of almost 4.5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 14 million, making it the fourth-largest city in India.

I was determined not to leave the city for before visiting “Nirmal Hridai” or “Kali Gat“, a temple for the godess Kali – that’s what it actually was before Mother Teresa had bought it. Among many it is simply known as “Death House“, a word which triggers goose bumps in every Westerner but that’s what it was inteneded for – a house in which the poorest of the poor, the ones who had absolutely nothing and nobody found a place to die in dignity!

Christopher Hitchens may have all kind of prove of Mother Teresa having accepted funds from the Duvaliers family in Haiti and Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan or laid a wreath at the tomb of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha – it doesn’t impress me NOR does it lessen the tremendous POSITIVE impact Mother Teresa had in this city and ultimately country and even worldwide!

I remember very well my arrival at Kali Gat. I had not called before nor had I notified the nuns of my arrival. I simply rang the doorbell and there I was. Right away and in a very friendly way I was asked to enter and found myself before long inside a very large room.

I remember a very large cool place with dark-green stretchers placed throughout, about two feet apart, the few empty ones with neatly folded blankets at the footend. A nun explained me about their patients.
Amost every single one had Tuberculosis at a final stage, some were emaciated to almost a skeleton, some sleeping. I remember seeing a nun bent over an old man, feeding him with the tenderness of a loving mother taking care of her baby, in his face I could see the gratefulness to have someone during his last hours taking care of him! He smiled – it was a sight full of love and serenity. I was handed a bowl of food and asked to feed another person as well as give an injection which as RN I had no problem taking care of.
During those few hours I was there I was like mesmerized. I wanted to absorb as much as possible of this atmosphere of serenity and peace – it was so intense, almost tangible. I learned an invaluable lesson about humanity, one I never forgot!
With all due respect to Mr. Hitchens’ research – I am sure the world would be a lot poorer today without Mother Teresa’s invaluable impact.
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