The Doubts of Mother Teresa

The following blog is a compilation of blogs in  the life of Mother Teresa as a saint to be, (The Road to Official Sainthood), The beatification of Mother Teresa was conducted Oct. 19, 2003 by Pope John Paul II. Many believe Blessed Mother Teresa will be named a saint of the Catholic Church someday, and her beatification is the latest step in that path to sainthood.

And how India and other countries looked at her life and called it a Saint to the Rich.

Who was Mother Teresa?

Contrary to most beliefs, Mother Teresa was  not from India.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje*, Macedonia, on August 26**, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ.

  • Aug 27, 1910 - Sep 5, 1997
  • Maiden name: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu
  • Place of Birth: Skopje, Yugoslavia (what is now Macedonia)
  • Residence: Calcutta, India
  • Biographical highlights:
    • 1928 – went to India and taught at a convent school in Calcutta
    • 1937 – took her final vows
    • 1948 – left the convent to work alone in the slums; received some medical training in Paris
    • 1950 – the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresea’s sisterhood) started
    • 1952 – House for the Dying opened
    • 1957 – the Missionaries of Charity started work with lepers and in many disaster areas of the world
    • 1971 – awarded the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize
    • 1979 – awarded Nobel Peace Prize

How the world saw  Mother Teresa:

On the one side:

How the West projected  her life as an envoy of  the Pope:

At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.

After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.

Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.

The following is the excerpts from Mother Teresa’s acceptance speech when she received her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979

Excerpts from the  acceptance speech for 1979 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate:

“I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”Her fame made her stand side by side with the then  Princess Diana,  Princess of Wales

Mother Teresa was so famous that she was granted an honorary American Citizen:

In September 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to make her an honorary American citizen, a distinction bestowed previously only on Winston Churchill, Raoul Wallenberg and Mr. and Mrs. William Penn, founders of the state of Pennsylvania. The United States may have a secular constitution, but with the abortion question and the (greatly overstated) power of the “Christian Coalition” being such political hot potatoes, the vote was unanimous.

On the other side:

While much was made of Mother Teresa’s devotion to the poor and downtrodden, she was in fact a lifelong friend to the rich and powerful:


Some examples:

In 1992 she intervened with a court in Los Angeles, which was about to sentence Charles Keating, the biggest fraud and embezzler in American history. His S & L racket stole a total of $252 million, mainly from small and poor depositors. A strong Catholic and right-wing campaigner against pornography in his spare time, Keating gave Mother Teresa $1,250,000 in cash and the use of a private jet, in return for which she gave him many useful endorsements, including a character reference to the court. The court had asked Mother Teresa to return Keating’s donations, which may well have been stolen, but she never replied to the request.
In 1981 Mother Teresa journeyed to Haiti, to accept that nation’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur. She received it from the Duvalier family, and made a glowing speech in which she said that dictator “Baby Doc” and his wife Michele not only loved the poor, but were loved by the poor in return.
In 1990 she made a trip to Albania, then the most oppressive of the Balkan Stalinist states, and laid a wreath on the grave of the dictator Enver Hoxha as well as on the irredentist monument to “Mother Albania”. She was herself of Albanian descent (born in Skopje, Macedonia), but many Albanians were shocked by her embrace of Hoxha’s widow and her silence on human rights.

Was Mother Teresa truly a holy, selfless person and completely dedicated to the service of the poor and the wretched as she has been projected by her mission and the world press? No, says Hitchens.

She befriended the rich and powerful and was a defender of Western big business. Though she proclaimed her devotion to the poor and downtordden, she urged the Indians to forgive Union Carbide for the gas leak in Bhopal which had killed more than 2000 people.
On the impending divorce of  Princess  Diana to Prince Charles –

“A few months later, she gave an interview to the American magazine, Ladies Home Journal, which reached millions of housewives. She was asked about her friendship with Princess Diana, a friendship which has been evolving over the past several years, and also about Diana’s then impending divorce. Of the divorce Mother Teresa said that “It is a good thing that it is over. Nobody was happy anyhow.”
So, from Mother Teresa it was sermons for the poor about morality and obedience, but forgiveness and indulgence for princesses. Few commentators noted the contrast, because such facts did not “fit” the image that has become so necessary. But actually, this contrast is a far better guide to Mother Teresa’s theory and practice than the received opinion about either

How  did Mother  Teresa feel  about her faith?

Some contradictions: her speech of faith in Jesus by serving the poor and the hungry etc, and her letter to the Reverend Peet about her doubts of Jesus in her life:
On Dec. 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, the “Saint of the Gutters,” went to Oslo. Dressed in her signature blue-bordered sari and shod in sandals despite below-zero temperatures, the former Agnes Bojaxhiu received that ultimate worldly accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize.
“”It is not enough for us to say, ‘I love God, but I do not love my neighbor,'” she said, since in dying on the Cross, God had “[made] himself the hungry one — the naked one — the homeless one.” Jesus’ hunger, she said, is what “you and I must find” and alleviate. She condemned abortion and bemoaned youthful drug addiction in the West.

Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, that is only now being made public, she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. “Jesus has a very special love for you,” she assured Van der Peet. “[But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand.”

In – “Doubt Goes Hand in Hand with Faith” – by Pamela K. Taylor

the author said of Mother Theresa:

“That Mother Teresa experienced doubt, in the midst of the incredible suffering that God allows to go on, is only to be expected. Even under the best of conditions humans have doubted; how can we be surprised that under the worst of them, we continue to do so?”

On the one hand:  Jesus Christ said of this to His Father Almighty in the  last moment of His life.

Matthew 27:46 (King James Version)

46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This was  a sign of anguish on the part of Jesus Christ. His earthly body could not endured the pain inflicted in Him. Never did Jesus Christ show signs of doubts to the Father at any given time.

Did the faith of Mother Theresa showed some doubts towards the end of her ministry?

Towards the end, did she realized she was being used? If she was, to some extent,  it was for a good cause; she helped alleviate the poverty stricken countries and bring to  attention the plight of the poor.

In the book “Mother Teresa’s Hidden Mission in India: Conversion to Christianity”

In the early days of Christianity, those who refused to believe in Jesus were  first branded as heretics and witches and then killed or burnt at the stake. In the name of the holy wars, military missions were sent which resulted  in millions of people being massacred in South America.

To perpetuate the forces of imperialism in Asia and Africa, the Western powers fit like a hand in glove with the Christian Church and used their military might to convert the natives into Chrisitanity. Following the dictum ‘the end justifies the means,’ the Christian Church had to devise new means to convert Asians and Africans into Christianity after the demise of the Western Imperialism.

Along with this came a breed of Christian evangelists guided and financed by the Vatican and the Western powers to carry on the crusade by using the label of”poverty and desease” as their weapons. That is exactly what Mother Teresa was doing  in India.

Mother Teresa portrayed India as a poor, starving, and a diseased land to her Western donors who responded by filling her coffers so that she could continue her mission of converting the poor and illiterate of India. She effectively used the converted Indian nuns for this purpose and thereby achieved her major mission of the Church. Mother Teresa, the founder of the “Missionaries of Charity”was “a crafty user of public relations” as pointed out by Christopher Hitchens in his recent book,The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.

As an Asian, I was  a living witness to this. The Philippines was under the colonization of the Spanish regime for more than four hundred years. Along, came the Catholicism.

Did the Western world able to project Mother Teresa to suit  their own purpose?

The Christian Church and the Western media succeeded in convincing many  of the Indian leaders and the westernized Indians that Mother Teresa was a great saint and therefore should be given a state funeral, an honor reserved only for great leaders of India. She was equated by one of the Indian leaders with Mahatma Gandhi. In doing so, then Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Gujaral, and leaders of other political parties excepting the BJP confirmed to the world that the Indians are incapable of taking care of their own poor and sick people. Indian leaders like Gujaral have insulted Gandhi by equating Mother Teresa with him.

I have no doubts that Mother Teresa was a sacrificing/selfless  woman. In the nature course of things, who would want to live in the dirt and in poverty when you can live in a much better place?

Her goodness came from nature, from having a good spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (King James Version)

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Armed with goodness of spirit, we are also commanded by God, to seek the Truth. For the Truth will not bear doubt on us.

James 1:6 (King James Version)

6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Psalm 40:10 (King James Version)

10I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Psalm 43:3-4 (King James Version)

3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

To my mind, Mother Theresa died without knowing the whole Truth.

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