It is always tempting to see the saints, not as individuals with the very human struggles that afflict us all, but surrounded with an aura of sanctity, symbolised by a halo. This does the saints a disservice as it dehumanises them; it does us a disservice as they seem too far removed from our own lives for us to imitate them.
David Scott’s The Love That Made Saint Teresa is refreshing for this reason. He ponders aspects of the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (as she is generally known) which are often glossed over, such as the 18 years she spent in the privileged surroundings of the Loreto Convent in Calcutta, during which she barely mentioned the misery beyond the convent gates. “Her conversion to the poor came slowly,” he suggests.
More extraordinary are the details Scott gives which have only come to light since Mother Teresa’s death in 1997: her 50-year long dark night of the soul, and her initial visions of Jesus and His Mother in 1947 which led to her new vocation to the poor and the dying. Although she destroyed her notes and diaries, a small cache of letters written to her spiritual directors during that momentous year reveals that for some time she resisted Jesus’ explicit request for “Missionary Sisters of Charity, who would be my fire of love amongst the very poor – the sick, the dying, the little street children.”
Read more at Catholic Herald.