Last week I wrote a blog recognizing (not celebrating) the anniversary of Princess Di's untimely death.
In it, I tried to remove the veil from her idyllic status among people who buy commemorative plates, and reveal what might be considered a "seedy underbelly" to Diana's life story.
As luck would have it, today just happens to be the anniversary of Mother Teresa's death, so I thought it a perfect opportunity to fuck with her legacy as well.
First… What is the common conception of Mother Teresa, other than the fact she kinda looks like Sean Penn?
Well, I think most people know her as the Catholic nun with the leathery skin who dedicated her life to caring for the destitute and dying in the slums of Calcutta. Some might also know that in 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize, she died in 1997, and after her death, she was canonized as Saint Teresa by the Catholic Church.
And knowing only that is enough for people to make her name synonymous with charity… "I may donate some time to a soup kitchen around the holidays, but I'm no Mother Teresa."
But here are the parts you may not know…
- This isn't a sin, but contrary to popular belief, she came from money… At least by the standards of her hometown of Skopje, North Macedonia. So Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (her real name) grew up with a certain degree of culture and was well-educated.
- She claimed to be apolitical, never met an oppressive party she didn’t like (provided of course that it opposed abortion and contraception): Haiti’s “Baby Doc,” Ethiopia’s Dergue, the royalist survivors of Franco’s Spain, and the supporters of the contras of Nicaragua and the death squads of El Salvador… All have contributed to her efforts and received her praise.
- She never solicited money BUT accepted it freely whenever it was offered… Even if it came from cultists like MSIA’s John-Roger Hinkins or major economic felons like Charles Keating, who stole $252,000,000 from investors during the Savings and Loan Scandal of the ’80s.
Keating donated $1,250,000 million dollars to Mother Teresa, and when Keating’s co-prosecutor Paul Turley wrote to Mother, offering to put her “in direct contact with the rightful owners of the property now in your possession,” Mother failed to write him back.
- She permitted her religious beliefs… particularly her belief in the spiritual benefits of suffering and a good death… to affect her treatment of the poor.
The single most useful resource for Mother Teresa bashing is Christopher Hitchens' 1995 book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. In it, he quotes eyewitness testimony to the medieval hygienic and medical standards found in her treatment centers: "Needles merely rinsed, not immersed in boiling water; the pain of terminal cancer treated with aspirin or other analgesics; the failure to transfer eminently treatable cases (in one instance, a boy of fifteen) out of the 'Home for the Dying' before it was too late." This, Hitchens says, occurred because “the point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection.”
- Teresa brought in tons of money, but her missionaries looked as bad when she founded them as they did after her death. The conditions in her missions were so fucking dire, that they were once compared to photographs of Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
- When the city of San Francisco donated a fully furnished building to her for a shelter for homeless men who had AIDS she promptly had all the couches, beds, and televisions thrown out ensuring that the dying would live as comfortless as possible.
- When confronted about these conditions, Mother Teresa said, "There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering."
- And here's the real hypocrisy… Mother Teresa herself, had checked into some of the finest and costliest clinics and hospitals in the West during her bouts with heart trouble and old age.
- Plus… As we touched upon in the Twisted History of Charities… The money that she was sent from donors went mainly unaccounted for. Only a small percent of the money Mother raised went to the poor while the rest went to Rome.
- She gave nothing of the $100 million she raised to help in India’s natural disasters… She only offered survivors Mother Mary medallions, even though only 2.3 percent of people in India are Christians.
And the list goes on and on.
I am going to wrap up here because I am starting to get light-headed, but I enjoy doing this… I enjoy giving readers the whole story about people we thought we knew.
This isn't another CALL TO CANCEL because, believe it or not, I am sympathetic to Mother Teresa's core beliefs, and I am convinced that it was a sincere conviction that led her to her pain-filled nursing philosophy. Also, I am certain many poor people would have died alone, without any comfort or companionship, if it had not been for the ministrations of Mother Teresa and her sisters.
But the next time you want to use her name to symbolize one thing, maybe you should say something like, "Jesus H Christ!… This hospital is so fucking filthy, it's like Mother Teresa is running it!"
Next up… I think I might talk about the secret FBI recordings that allege how another Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King Jr., had affairs with 40 women and watched on as a pastor raped a woman in the 1960s… Stay tuned because no one is safe.
Take a report.