Mother Teresa faced crisis of faith: book


London : A new book on Mother Teresa has published her letters that reveal that she faced a deep crisis of faith in god during the last 40 years of her life, reports from Rome said Friday

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The correspondence, which spans most of Mother Teresa’s life, shows that she felt alone and in a state of spiritual pain from around 1949, roughly the time when she started taking care of the poor and dying in Kolkata.

The Telegraph reported from Rome that although she publicly proclaimed that her heart belonged “entirely to the heart of Jesus”, she wrote to Rev Michael Van Der Peet, a spiritual confidant, in September 1979 that “Jesus has a very special love for you.

“As for me, the silence and 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.”

The letter, the newspaper reported, was written just a few weeks before she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her charitable work. More than 40 other letters, many of which she had asked to be destroyed in her will, show her fighting off feelings of “darkness” and “torture”.

The letters are published for the first time in the book “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light” and are edited by Rev Brian Kolodiejchuk, a close friend. He writes that during that period, Mother Teresa did not feel god “in her heart or in the eucharist”.

Kolodiejchuk gathered the letters as part of the process to make Mother Teresa a saint, and is responsible for arguing in her favour. He said the letters would show people another side of her life, adding that the fact she was able to continue her work during such torment was a sign of her spiritual heroism.

Mother Teresa has been beatified and is awaiting canonisation as a saint later this year.

The letters reveal that Mother Teresa, who was perpetually outwardly cheerful, struggled fiercely with her faith. She compared her problems to hell and admitted that she had begun to doubt the existence of heaven and god.

“The smile,” she wrote, “is a mask or a cloak that covers everything. I spoke as if my very heart was in love with god, a tender personal love. If you were there you would have said, ‘What hypocrisy’.”