Personalities Religion

Mother Teresa: Saint or a Manipulative Sinner?

They call her the ‘Angel of Mercy’. She was compassionate and kind. She didn’t think twice before touching a leper on the road or cleaning a festering wound. She came from a humble background herself yet put a roof over the heads of several unfortunate souls abandoned by their own kin. She judged not and served all selflessly while inspiring thousands of others to walk in her steps. They say she should be anointed a saint, one who continues to live in the hearts of millions across the world. She was lovingly called ‘Mother’ by all who came in her care, India’s very own Mother Teresa. Saint to some and an evil motive oriented cunning deceiver to others.


I personally loved the little lady, wrinkles strewn across her face marking the tumultuous journey she had. A smile that lit up the darkest corners of an infirmary filled with disease and despair. However, I simply can’t help take note of many whispers and sometimes shouts coming from the ones who didn’t quite see her in the same light. I’m not one to judge and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect, but when the noises against her get louder, one can’t help but wonder. Was she really a selfless giver or someone who served the needy in exchange for their mortal souls.

Was the charity for real?

The nuns with the blue stripes head various other charitable organizations in Calcutta, they’re world famous and they have the most money. But no one knows exactly how much as it’s a guarded secret. Mother Teresa’s organization, even defies Indian law that requires all charitable organizations to publicly publish their accounts.

It’s no secret the holy mother accepted millions of dollars from known crooks like Keating Savings and the Duvalier family, but was the fortune used to uplift and provide basic comfort by a woman who was sworn to a vow of poverty? She openly propagated the concept of getting closer to God through suffering and poverty. Alleviating their pain and giving them a comfortable life would take them further away from God. At least that’s what one would understand if one observed the huge fortunes that came to her in the form of donations and the basic facilities her organization provided for the people she cared for.

Forced conversions and glorifying the church

The service was remarkable and rendered to the poorest of the poor, but was it without a motive? It’s known fact that the mother was a devout Roman Catholic. She aggressively preached Christianity to all she served and cared for.  She influenced them to get Baptized often without adequate information to make a choice by free will. There are stories of people being baptized even on their death beds. She forbid the people in her care from meeting their families. Was it with a purpose of brainwashing them towards the Christian faith?

It’s alleged that many operations of the order engage in no charitable activity at all and use their funds for missionary work. Many still talk of the huge contributions made to Catholic church during her time. If the servitude was truly selfless than why did she seek to win souls of the dying and desperate?

Relations with the Rich and Famous

It’s a known fact that the holy mother had a fan following in the rich and famous across the world. She had close relations  with the right-wing dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who, after his ouster, was found to have stolen millions of dollars from  impoverished Haiti. She openly supported him and painted him as a compassionate man who loved the poor. She  endorsed   the aggressively atheist regime of Enver Hoxia in Albania. She accepted money from the British publisher Robert  Maxwell, who, as was later revealed, embezzled UK£450 million from his employees’ pension funds.

Charles  Keating  donated millions of dollars to Mother Teresa and lent her his private jet when she visited the United States. She refused to return the money, and praised Keating repeatedly. She supported Licio Gelli’s implicated in various murders and high-profile corruption cases in Italy. Christopher Hitchens remained one of her prominent critics.

Hoarded ‘Savings’ while the poor suffered

A former Polish  missionary of the charity’s home was an insight into what truly happens to donations, the cellar in the homeless shelter was found full of valuable books,  jewellery  and gold. The sisters receive them with smiles and keep them. Most of these lie around uselessly forever. Millions that come in as donations also meet a similar fate. Isn’t  not using at all also a kind of misuse?

Former sisters account these donations as a one way street and are a measure of God’s love. Taking is holier than giving. Unfortunately the ones who suffer the most are the ones for whom these donations are intended. Most terminally ill patients suffered and rotted because of lack of adequate and hygienic medical facilities. Something that could have easily been procured  by the millions coming her way from around the world.

Mother Teresa’s central philosophy was saving, but as her poor organization quickly grew to a rich one, one wonders what happened to her jewels, inherited  homes, cheques and suitcases full of money. If she wished she could have catered to people not by obsessively indulging in saving, but instead through well thought-out spending. For a sustainable charitable system, it would have been sensible to train the nuns to become nurses, teachers or managers. But a Missionary of Charity nun is never trained for anything further.

Abortion is Evil and Divorce a sin

Does servitude give one the right to govern the choices of a woman? Is it not horrific to condemn a raped woman, many victimized during the Indo –Pak war who opted for abortion. To tell a dying and suffering woman that it was better to die than opt for abortion, the worst evil and the greatest enemy of peace.

She called a pro choice woman a murderer of her own child. She termed it as pure killing and strongly opposed contraception and birth control. In a world that needs ways and means to empower our women, she sure suggested keeping the women victimized and not in control of their own bodies. Divorce too was frowned up by her ministry. Do or die, but no Divorce.

Mother Teresa’s philosophy was: Money for a good conscience. The poor suffered while the donors benefitted. Did she really want to eliminate suffering or fight poverty? To be poor, to suffer was a goal, almost an ambition or an achievement for her and she imposed this goal upon those under her wings; her actual ordained goal was the hereafter.

Over time she did become conscious of the image her order was projecting. They reflect on the plaque outside the mother’s house. “Tell them we are not here for work, we are here for Jesus. We are religious above all else. We are not social workers, not teachers, not doctors. We are nuns.”

My question is, For what, in that case, do nuns need so much money? And why is it not visible in the care and facilities for her beloved ‘Poorest of the poor’.

About the author

Alisha Bhatt


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