The National Catholic Review

Next week, August 26th to be precise, marks what would be the 100th birthday of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Albanian-born nun and foundress of the Missionaries of Charity religious order, died on Sept. 5, 1997 and was beatified in Rome on Oct. 19, 2003. Books and documentaries about her life and work abound. The two biographies published during her lifetime—and, in my judgment the best—are Malcolm Muggeridge’s Something Beautiful for God and Such a Vision of the Street, by Eileen Egan. Both books remain in print to this day, some 25 years after publication. Worthy of special note is Come and See: A Photojournalist’s Journey into the World of Mother Teresa, by Linda Schaefer. And as Jim Martin, S.J., mentioned in a blog post on August 3, Time Inc. has just published a special commemorative edition: Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint, a beautiful package and a collector’s delight.

I must confess a special affinity for the Egan book, which I edited and guided during my tenure at Doubleday publishers (now part of the Random House, Inc. conglomerate), and which is now available from Galilee Trade books. Coincidentally, as publication of the book approached, I had the privilege of meeting Mother Teresa in person; she was visiting her Sisters who minister in a downtrodden section of the Bronx. The late John A. Hardon, S.J., spiritual adviser to that community, drove Ms. Egan and me from my midtown offices to the Bronx. We enjoyed tea and conversation in the modest kitchen before going into the chapel—leaving our shoes at the threshold. I took the occasion of Mother Teresa’s impending beatification about 27 years later to share my memories in America (“Blessed Is She,” Oct. 13, 2003). In a telephone interview with the aforementioned Linda Schaefer she spoke movingly of the holiness of this diminutive nun, whose influence and spiritual impact has spread across the globe.

Among the special events planned for Mother Teresa's centennial: a documentary on the Discover Channel entitiled "Mother Teresa: Saint of Darkness." You can learn more about it here.

Patricia A. Kossmann

 

Comments

Helen Lee | 8/24/2010 - 12:33pm
The book is a really beautiful tribute to Mother Theresa. David Van Biema, the author/editor, is actually a secular/semi-religious Jew and has a lot of interesting insights about Mother Theresa. They just interviewed him over at Busted Halo: http://www.bustedhalo.com/features/the-patron-saint-of-baby-boomers
Linda Schaefer | 8/23/2010 - 11:44pm
I was so pleased to be included in the article about Mother Teresa. However, the link to my book went to Amazon.com. I have bought the remaining inventory of books from my publisher and would be pleased to make one available to you as a signed copy. Please consider visiting my web Site. www.motherteresaofcalcutta.com.


Linda Schaefer
david power | 8/20/2010 - 9:00pm
when I lived in Chile I encountered "hogar de Cristo" which is the charity founded by St Alberto Hurtado.
He was a much loved saint and everybody in Chile held him in great esteem.His goodness just shone through..I remember one great line from him in response to a question by another priest ,a seminarian who was studying theology and asked what he should specialize in Fr Alberto said "Specialize in Jesus Christ".How much lived experience there must be in those words.The church needs theologians and thinkers but it needs Saints a lot more.He may have been the last hurrah of the Jesuits before the deluge of activists set in but he was a testimony to what a Jesuit can be .All of those who suffer in the Church at the moment need the simplicity of the Gospel and it is only the Saints who can give it.
Anonymous | 8/19/2010 - 8:27pm
Not by accident that the Missionaries of Charity have grown as they have. John Hardon SJ was their spiritual Father...
Gabriel McAuliffe | 8/19/2010 - 7:01pm
Thank you for posts such as this and the one on Fr. Hurtado.  This is why I still read America's blog!