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Remembering Mother Teresa
September 10th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

My Take: The Mother Teresa you don’t know

Editor's note: David Van Biema, the chief religion writer at Time Magazine for ten years, is author of the illustrated biography "Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint," now being reissued and made available in Spanish as "La Madre Teresa: La Vida y las obras de una santa moderna."

By David Van Biema, Special to CNN

Fifteen years may be less than an instant in celestial time, but here on earth it's a lot of news cycles.

Mother Teresa departed this Earth on September 5, 1997. What more can we say about the woman who became synonymous with love for the "poorest of the poor," picking up a Nobel and tweaking the conscience of millions? What do we know about her now that we didn't know then?

A lot, it turns out.

Here's a quick Blessed Mother Teresa primer, emphasizing the stuff that you probably don’t know, some of which we only learned recently.

1. She was born a rich girl.

Born in 1910, Mother Teresa came from money at least by the standards of her native Skopje, Macedonia. Her parents were so well-off that there was a local saying "as generous as the Bojaxhius." (Her last name was Bojaxhiu; her given first name was Agnes.)

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Agnes was cultured and well-educated: She wrote poetry and played the mandolin. Her family took in orphans and she tagged along as her mother went out to tend to the destitute. All of this challenges the notion of pre-saints as nasty, or no better than average, until God flicks a switch (think Paul, pre-Damascus).

In Agnes’ case, if God flicked a switch, he had clearly laid the circuitry carefully beforehand.

2. For a long time, it was hardly obvious that Teresa would end up who she became.

She emigrated to India to become a nun at age 18, but worked as a teacher another 17 years before receiving a series of startling visions and locutions (verbal communications) from Jesus. The experience, wrote her confessor at the time, was "continual, deep and violent."

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She later recalled it as a dramatic dialogue taking up pages: Jesus calls her "my little one" and demands that she "carry Me into the holes of the poor. I want Indian nuns … who would be my fire of love among the poor, the sick, the dying and the little children." She hesitates. He asks impatiently, "Is your generosity gone cold?"

It had not. After two years spent convincing her local bishop, she was released from her previous vows and founded her Missionaries of Charity.

3. She changed our view of the poor.

"There are plenty of nuns to look after the rich and well-to-do people, but for my very poor, there are absolutely none," Teresa wrote, describing communication she got from Jesus.

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That seems a bit exaggerated. But Teresa redefined the concept of "working with the poor" in the modern age. For poor she substituted "poorest of the poor," a new category with a corresponding moral imperative. She understood the word "with" as obliterating the line between benefactor and beneficiary, plunging her nuns deeply into the world of the slums.

As for "working," Teresa combined case-by-case spontaneity with an organizational genius. In Calcutta she developed institutions schools for poor children, homes for pregnant homeless women, orphans and lepers, and hostels for the dying that became a template for her ministries the world over.

4. She was a marketing guru.

"Billions know about her compassion," says evangelical megapastor Rick Warren. "But what is not so well known (were) leadership skills, evident in the multiplication of what she did to other parts of the planet."

Teresa instinctively leveraged her growing renown, cultivating a United Nations of world leaders and donors and paving the way for the Missionaries. Four decades after her solo start in India, her order was in over 100 countries, making her one of the church's truly great founders. "If there are poor on the moon, we will go there, too," she joked sort of.

5. She cultivated her celebrity.

Teresa was famous first in India, then worldwide, partly through the efforts of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge and partly due to another gift. "The way she spoke to journalists showed her to be as deft a manipulator as any high-powered American public relations expert,” noted Irish rocker/philanthropist Bob Geldof.

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That that gift seemed to be unconscious did not make it any less effective. After winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she became part of a Mt. Rushmore of greatest-generation religious icons including Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham and the (relatively youthful) Dalai Lama that has no successor generation.

Of them, Teresa attained the purest pop-culture status, capped by her touching friendship with then-Princess Diana of England. When the two died within a week of one another (Diana in a car wreck, Teresa by heart attack), a T-shirt immediately popped up showing both with halos.

6. Teresa had a long, dark night of the soul.

In 2007, a cache of newly released private letters introduced a startling unknown side to Teresa: a 39-year period, coinciding almost exactly with her Missionaries career, during which Jesus, previously so present, seemed utterly absent to her, in prayer and even in the Eucharist.

"The silence and the emptiness is so great," she wrote, "that I look and do not see– the tongue moves (in prayer) but does not speak."

Critics like the late Christopher Hitchens said the correspondence proved Teresa was just a "confused old lady." But the letters were issued by her postulator, the Vatican-appointed advocate for her sainthood.

Her church regarded her perseverance in the absence of a sense of divine response as perhaps her most heroic act of faith. Both her torment and underlying faith were evident in another letter: "If I ever become a Saint I will surely be one of 'darkness,'" she wrote. "I will continually be absent from Heaven to (light) the light of those in darkness on earth."

7. She’s not a saint yet – not officially.

Not as recognized by her own Roman Catholicism, where validation of sanctity is a multi-step process.

A year after Teresa's death, the Vatican waived a five-year-delay to allow her "cause" to begin early. In 2002, it announced her "heroic virtue," and in the same year credited her with the disappearance of a tumor affecting an Indian woman who had prayed to her.

This first miracle led to her beatification, for which 250,000 people flocked to Rome. But canonization awaits a second miracle. Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, her advocate, says reports of her "supernatural favors" to believers currently total 4,200. He is currently investigating a case in Colombia.

Of course, the church freely admits that saints are saints before it recognizes them, and many Catholics fervently believe Teresa is one. So do others, including Rick Warren, who defines a saint as "a true hero" who "sacrifice(s) for the benefit of others." Suzie van Houte, left in infancy with Mother Teresa and now an Episcopalian living in Washington state, says simply: "A saint is a person who's gone out of her way."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Van Biema.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • India • Leaders • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (1,499 Responses)
  1. Gogo Wazara

    I love and admire the work Mother Teresa diid .I love her statement which says "the fruit of faith is love and the fruit of love is service .May she be blessed for caring for the poor.I understand what povert is because i tested drums of it when i was growing up Teresa tuoched the hearts of many poor people and some ended up with a ray of hope for life.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  2. Kindness

    Kindness
    kindness
    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    October 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • weirdo

      dude, you're a weirdo. jesus wasn't very kind when my gay friends wanted to get married, was he, now?

      October 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • John

      Good job! Thanks for the share Kindness.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  3. Jim

    I am not saying Mother Teresa was bad by any means, but everyone who makes heaven their home MUST have a persoanl relationship with our Lord! I think MT did do many wonderful things for the poor, and Jesus talked a lot about the poor. I do however have a problem with the Catholic Church making people saints after they die. It is not scriptual, and I feel many priests. popes and Catholics in general are in hell. All the work in the world for God does not excuse the fact that without Christ in someone's heart, and has acccepted the Lord into thier hearts with a personal experience, then no-one makes heaven! Many scriptures say that works alone does not grant entrance into heaven, and I feel many Catholics think this is thier ticket INTO heaven which is a lie from hell! John 3:16 & 17 – Romans 10: 9 &10.

    October 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Nii

      JIM
      Every Christian is referred to as a Saint. If you achieve the state where your spirituality is obvious for all to see the term is applied as an honour. Strive to be a Saint then you won't resent others being called such. The RCC can't make one a Saint. They just make you an official Saint of THEIR Church.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • weirdo

      aaand the christians turn on each other in 3... 2... 1... go!

      October 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  4. WillieLove

    Check out David cloud website

    September 28, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  5. WillieLove

    Rome’s gospel centers in the Catholic Church, the pope, and the sacraments. While Catholicism teaches that Christ died on the cross to purchase man’s salvation, it is not satisfied simply to invite men to receive this salvation by faith directly from the resurrected Christ. Rome teaches that Christ, having purchased redemption by His blood and death, delivered it to the Catholic Church to be distributed to men. Consider the following quotes from the Vatican II Council:

    September 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • weirdo

      In response, I challenge you to meditate on the following quotes from God:

      "...

      ..."

      yeah, I don't hear anything, either. God? you there, dude?

      hello?

      nope! nothing.

      If god was real, wouldn't he have an official marketing division, instead of a human-led cheerleading squad?

      October 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  6. WillieLove

    WHAT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES ABOUT SALVATION

    September 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  7. waitasec

    she took money from the mob

    she perpetuated misery and promoted it as a blessing from god

    she was the devil incarnate

    September 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • weirdo

      "The devil?" REALLY? The first two statements were more or less true, but I agree with Hitch's "confused old woman" theory. She MEANT well, but wanting to help and actually helping are two different things.

      Now, the people who taught her that the best way to help was charity and not sustainability, or those who demanded that the "schools" that the Church runs give out faulty information on repro ductive health, thereby perpetuating cycles of poverty and lost opportunity? THOSE people are definitely the devil incarnate.

      They lied to an 18-year-old girl about what's right and wrong, and used the bogeyman called "god" to do it.

      Imagine what a person could do if they had Mother Teresa's selfless compassion and perseverance AS WELL AS a successful evidence-based plan to eliminate ignorance, poverty, and disease?

      Instead of just comforting the sick, why not prevent the disease? God doesn't do that, but humans do.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  8. jeffision

    Her description of her visions are a clear indication of mental illness.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  9. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't??) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      @Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

      Some of what you said is actually in harmony with the Bible!

      Ecclesiastes 8:9
      9 All this I have seen, and there was an applying* of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, [during] the time that man has dominated man to his injury.

      Jeremiah 10:23
      23 I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man* his way does not belong. It does not belong to man* who is walking even to direct his step.

      2 Peter 2:1-3
      However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among YOU.+ These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects* and will disown even the owner that bought them,+ bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Furthermore, many will follow+ their acts of loose conduct,*+ and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.+ 3 Also, with covetousness they will exploit YOU with counterfeit words.+ But as for them, the judgment from of old+ is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering.
      "
      You see, God had his secretaries (Bible Writers) write in his Bible that very fact, that man would leave "The way", or "Truth", and start living in a way that is opposite to what Christ taught them to live. Thus you are proving the Bible to be accurate, here you are speaking abusively about "The Way", "The Truth."

      But I doubt you're saying that people who don't believe in God are better citizens? Because that is contrary to the facts.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • weirdo

      @Gabriel

      Yeah, even a stopped clock is right twice a day! there's so much random "wisdom" in the bible that surely some of it has gone on to inspire liberalism, critical thinking, human dignity, and creative problem-solving. That's how we got the Enlightenment, after all.

      Eventually, though, you've got to realise that the Bible was a collection of dispersed historical ideas, an ink blot that you projected your thoughts onto and seemed to get patterns back.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  10. angelina

    wow. Mother Theresa, was a sadist. She believed in suffering to get closer to GOD... well the only ones who suffered were the kids she was supposedly helping... kids who she refused basic meds as her hospital bed was the epitomy of comfort. Private helicopter rides, friends with known criminals.... she was a hypocrite at best.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Christyfree

      Em..angelina, that sure is a lot of information that you have there on Mother T...where exactly did you get that? From someone who knows someone that knows someone? I really doubt Mother T would have won a Nobel Peace Prize if she'd been the monster you're calling her. Perhaps you are practicing transference and describing yourself?

      September 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Ryan

      angelina – go dedicate your life in India to take care of the poor for 40 years and then maybe you'll have a right to criticize Mother Teresa.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Zak

      For God sake, leave the poor lady alone. Why do you criticize good people, its just because they did good. If you cannot do good at least dont do evil or say bad things about good people.
      This is the time when evil people will call evil good and good evil..

      Repent turn to Jesus!

      October 12, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • ciccio

      To my christin friends I say: whe it comes to weirdo, angelina and mars, "forgive them for they know not what they say".

      October 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  11. marsmotel

    The mother Theresa that no one tells the stories of is that behind the crazy religious person she was, was a cold-hearted B***tch.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • ToniWal

      To Marsmotel and Angelina! WOW what ever did you learn from the piece about Mother Theresa? She was a wealthy woman (rich) even before she started her missionary. She was a CEO, she accomplished things most CEOs don't. She was world famous and a LOT of people wanted to at least emulate, or associate with her. She was educated so she spent some time learning about the world and its cultures. The point is, she was a CEO before her time. If she hadn't been a woman, she would have been a POPE, much like John Paul and I'm not even a Catholic!

      September 20, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Darwin

      mars...it sounds like Mother Teresa wasn't the b that you claim she is. You seem to be looking in the mirror rather often. Considering the hatred that you're spewing, I would gather that you're jealous that she helped so many people and/or you're in a psychiatric ward a the time that you wrote your post.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  12. ViK100

    God Bless you Mother Theresa!!

    September 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  13. Your Panties in Texas

    Mother Teresa was a really sweet OLD Woman.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • SaintsDO-AsSaintsDO

      certainly 'old' at the end of her life – started missionary work late in her 30's. Blessings to the Kind and Unselfish!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  14. Peggy Totoons

    I am not religious but surely Mother Teresa was doing very effective and powerful work in a very miserable area of the world – untouchables, lepers, and with the willingness to constantly continuing her work. I very much admire her.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  15. T-Roy

    "Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction." CH

    September 19, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  16. Lourdes

    Marcel,

    Your tribute to Mother Theresa is beautiful. I am sure Mother Theresa and all the angels are smiling.
    God Bless you. Jesus is Lord

    September 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  17. QB

    Mother Teresa in her later days, lost her faith in God. She felt there's no God because of the suffering and evil she saw while the Bible preached God is Love.. This didn't make sense to her and she lost it .

    If only she knew, there is only 1 God, strictly 1 God alone, There are people who earn His love and there are those who He does not love. He can also be very severe in punishment and very forgiving both.
    He tests man and hardship and ease both. He sent man to Earth not just to achieve peace or morality but to observe equally important commandments that do not relate to peace or morality.

    Strangely, eating a fruit was the sin that started it all, not relate to morality or peace yet it was so soo severe that a sin that the entire humanity has to suffer... There is 1 religion that explains it .
    THINK and seek for the true religion...

    September 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • lonerepublican

      And therein lies a quandary...

      Man wants the ultimate freedom from God – choice.
      But what most men don't understand about choice... consequences.

      One's man choice can cause suffering for generations upon generations.
      But you still want the freedom to have it right? Choice.

      So blame the God who gives you what you want.

      But also keep in mind, God is no lover of suffering. God takes no joy in the suffering of mankind. Yet in our fallen state, redemption has to come after death... so perhaps the perspective is, that the suffering here is short term compared to an eternity of happiness.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Alley Loo Ya

      You will eat, bye and bye
      In that glorious land above the sky
      Work and pray, live on hay
      You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

      Sing it!

      September 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Austin

      Thts right. God tests us with hardships and our sin is the reason for death and sadness but his eternal riches with him will far outweigh this earth. Jesus is Lord!

      September 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • john

      What a load of baloney!

      September 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Sissy

      QB, I find your viewpoint absolutely abhorrent and a complete rejection of everything I know of Christianity. I also find it remarkably arrogant that you espouse to know more about religion than Mother Teresa, a woman who lived her faith (and lack thereof) in a way few people have the courage to do.
      Are you actually saying that God does not love everyone and therefore makes some people suffer due to that? WOW. I once worked with abused and neglected children. Does God not love them? He made them suffer, greatly. Where on earth (or heaven) is your compassion? Have you not read the New Testament??? I'm so very glad I don't live in your world or believe in the same God you believe in.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • ViK100

      pathetic comment!! Mother Theresa never lost faith. Faith in God once you trully have it (like she showed in many way that she had) is NEVER lost. Because that is what faith is all about. Suffering has a meaning and she understood it well ALL her life. People who don't understand suffering, Pain, death, are the ones who lose or never have faith.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • ephoist

      Vik100... yes she did! There are journals and letters where she stated; "I have lost the will to beleive that He exists in this world.. Help me". this was brought out around five years ago. It doesnt change anything. She is still an incredible person and it takes NOTHING away from her, but only makes her more precious.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • par4gezr

      Infinitly loving God but not an always loving God, is that your premise? You know QB, it does have to make sense particularly if you intend to follow blindly...

      September 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Marina Guillaume

    Beautiful! Enjoyed every minute of it. I come from Kolkata and lived there till 1990 and Mother Teresa plays a big part in my spiritual journey. Remain loved and blessed always.

    September 18, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  19. Tom

    Let's just accept the fact that there is NO conclusive evidence to prove nor disprove a god. However, to the logical rational thinker the scientific knowledge in biology and evolution certainly directs the acceptance that there isn't any god. The likelyhood of there not being a god is certinly greater than the existence of one. When will science be able to conclusivly dismiss the idea of god? Not in our lifetimes. But each day something new is discovered. Whether in the labs or deep within the earth somewhere the truth to our existence is there.

    September 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • lonerepublican

      Tom – and each day science undoes what we we're taught in school, because... it wasn't correct...

      Do you remember Brontosaurus' in school? They don't exist anymore...

      September 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • timmuh

      @lonerepublican, much of science will never be refuted, but at times bad science is replaced by better science. The scientific method, although no always perfect, is the best way from telling fact from fiction. The biblical stories, which require faith, will always remain the same because they are non-testable, non-evidence based assertions which cannot be proven or disproved, but are dead unlikely.

      September 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Austin

      God is the truth, that will never be dissproven for he created everthing

      September 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Joyce

      No matter what science unveils, God will always be a possibility. Even if they find proof of how human life evolved, to the first basic particle, there is always the question of who created that particle. Even if we find the origins of the universe, there will always be the question of 'why'? The only answer is God......and God is just a word, but it will always be possible for believers to believe that whatever happened at the beginning of time, something we can never understand is what, or who, is behind it. Therein lies the possibility of 'God'.

      And I can't call myself a 'believer', just a logical thinker.

      September 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • HawaiiWahine

      Lone Republican (who responded to Tom) – thanks for bringing up the example of the brontosaurus. It lead me to research just what did happen to the beloved bronty from my childhood. Turns out he did not disappear (as per your response). He grew up. After more research, it was discovered that the Brontosaurus is the adult form of the Apatosaurus. Just like if you found a skeleton of a two-week old Daschund puppy, with no adult D. skeleton around, you would not realize it was a D. puppy. You would first think you had discovered a new breed. Your example strengthens, not weakens the case for scientific inquiry and a rational atheism. Science continues to evolve and build upon what was known before. Most religions, though, are based on a set of precepts that, according to their followers , does not change over time. But even religions evolve subtly. I had two sisters on my porch one day. Both raised exactly the same, both went to the same Bible college. Both married fellow students who became Baptist ministers. They are both ministers wives . Yet they loudly argued about whether dogs went to heaven. One finally just said "Well, dogs are in MY heaven". Neither saw the irony in what they were doing. As ministers wived they espoused the "incontrovertible" word of their God and believed it to their core when they said it. Yet they each was evolving their own belief system based on how they wanted their world to be.

      In regards to Christianity and Mother Theresa, I am really puzzled. If there was a God influencing her life, why would that god abandon her later instead of filling her with joy? Is he a sadist? DId he think she was wasting her time on "the poorest"? Why in the world would anyone want to follow a god who wasn't there for them? Christians- please don't bother to answer this here. Christians can rationalize just about anything in regards to why their god killed off a kid or abandoned an entire village to be washed away by a tsunami. In my world view, even if God exists, I have no need to worship it/him/her. I'd far rather surround myself with people who are fulfilled being good for "goodness sake" then those scared to not be good or they will be shunned by their god and confined to a fiery afterlife.

      October 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Nii

      HAAWAIIWAHINE
      My what a good post. I would start with the Mother Theresa question. I have experienced that or I am experiencing that. I usedd to have visions and such of God and Christ. However since I achieved a state of becoming charitable. It has become virtually non-existent. It seems Mother Theresa had achieved the full intimacy with God and did not recognise it. When you are apart from Him, He is other than you. When you achieve spiritual maturity He becomes part of you. His thoughts begin to replace yours, His emotions, etc. Eventually you can't recognise the dividing line. I think from the article she finally discovered what she had achieved.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  20. Marcel Morejon

    Just wanted to share my new video for the song, ONE LOVE.
    The song and video are a tribute to Mother Teresa and all of
    her wonderful acts of love. Hope you like it... :-)
    Marcel Morejon

    PS. Here's a link to the video on Youtube:

    September 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.