St. Teresa of Calcutta, saint of darkness

Mother Teresa was canonized on Sunday, officially declared to be a saint.  It isn’t necessary to be a Roman Catholic to appreciate this woman, who ministered to the poor and the dying on the streets of Calcutta.

Her example and the sense of holiness she conveyed persuaded many, such as Malcolm Muggeridge, to become a Christian.  Nevertheless, it is said that she experienced spiritual doubt and depression, a “dark night of the soul” that lasted some 50 years.

She wrote, “If I’m going to be a saint, I’m going to be a saint of darkness, and I’ll be asking from heaven to be the light of those who are in darkness on Earth.”  According to a priest involved with her canonization, she experienced both the physical poverty of the poor and the spiritual poverty of the “unloved, unwanted, uncared for.”

I have heard this period of darkness referred to as evidence that Teresa “was not perfect,” but I think it makes her holiness more believable.  The life of faith is not “perfection,” nor constant joy; rather, it often involves what Luther called “tentatio”–struggle, conflict, agony of conscience–and her descriptions of her depression shows that her faith was in Christ and not her own good works, which she had in such abundance.

In honor of her canonization, I will link and excerpt the speech she made at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, in which she gave a compelling critique of abortion.  Afterwards, she received a standing ovation, with President and Mrs. Clinton, also on the dais, staying in their seats.

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Hating on Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to the service of the poor and the dying,  has become almost synonymous with goodness and saintliness, and, indeed, her canonization is imminent.  But some people have an almost fanatical hatred for her.  Why? The main reason is because she was pro-life. [Read more…]

Atheists vs. Mother Teresa

The U.S. Postal Service wants to put out a stamp commemorating Mother Teresa, who was made an honorary  U.S. citizen by President Clinton, honoring her Nobel Peace Prize and her work with the world’s poor and dying.  The Freedom from Religion Foundation, an atheist organization, is protesting the proposed stamp.  The group wants to call attention to “the darker side” of Mother Teresa’s religious activism; namely, her opposition to abortion.  Notice how being pro-life is presented as a dark, evil, disqualifying belief.

See Atheists attack Mother Teresa.