Nobody epitomizes the answer of this question more than Anjeze Gonxhe, aka Mother Theresa.
When We Elevate a Human to The Rank of Saint We Commit A Crime Because Humans Have Never Been Saints: ie Mother Theresa, Worse Than The Average Sinner
She was called The Living Saint and after death was canonized by Pope Francis (who himself wouldn’t be a bad candidate for this question. But that’s another story).
We all know how she went to the streets of Calcutta to selflessly uplift the lives of thousands of impoverished, sick people through her endless charity. She was a global icon in the 80’s and 90’s was constantly alluded to in movies, TV shows and books. She inspired millions to commit selfless acts of charity.
But looking closer it’s clear that her sainthood was not at all deserved. When the Church set about to canonize her in order to improve the image of the Roman Catholic Church, researchers found a well of depravity in her dealings.
First off, all of her work had a catch. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, as they say. She would help these poor, sick people, but only at the cost of their souls, quite literally. She would force conversions for these poor wretched people, who had nowhere else to go and no other hope to turn to. When faced with such a choice, between going hungry, dying from illness, obviously the only answer is to convert and at least live a week or two longer.
But there were cases of those who were so far gone they couldn’t even willingly convert. She baptized these people anyway, without their consent. It’s not unlike that other scandal with the Mormons posthumously baptizing Jewish Nazi victims like Anne Frank.
Second, she was giving horrible medical care.
Mother Theresa’s medical centers had a 40% mortality rate. When British doctors and journalists around the globe came to observe the conditions they found that the clinics were sanitary disasters with untrained volunteers having no idea what they were doing. Contagious diseases were handled improperly, syringes and other materials were merely washed with tap water. People in pain were not given pain killers until they died, because Mother Theresa enjoyed the suffering they went through, she felt it brought them closer to Jesus.
There are volunteers who noted that there were many people in her clinics who could have lived if they were given proper medical care, but they were denied that in the name of suffering and getting closer to Jesus. Her clinics were so bad that they were dubbed “Homes for the Dying.”
She was definitely more than a little mentally deranged, and the sick part of it was that she glorified suffering. But she only glorified other’s suffering; when it came to her own suffering she went to posh American hospitals for her own heart condition.
She was also a ludicrous penny pincher. Mother Theresa received millions in donations for her work, from devout Catholics who thought they were contributing to good charity, and from her rich connections like Charles Keating and Jean-Claude Duvalier. But from all her donations, not a single piece of modern medical equipment was bought to alleviate patient’s suffering. She even denied donations of medical equipment, she preferred cash because that she could stash away somewhere, but medical equipment had to go into her “Homes for the Dying” and she couldn’t have her patients not suffering, now, could she?
There was even an incident where she went to buy groceries for $800 and refused to get out of line until someone else paid the bill for her, causing no small amount of inconvenience to everyone around her. What all those groceries were for is a question in itself; a volunteer at her kitchens said that when serving soup, they wouldn’t buy bread and would only get bread if it was actually donated.
Nobody knows where all her money went, but most of it didn’t go to the poor.
She was probably insane.
After her death, journalists discovered that she had had a lot of correspondence with her colleagues and superiors in the Church, letters which told of the torment and doubt she had in her soul over her faith. These letters were published by Random House in the book “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light”
It is almost certain that her glorification of pain was a result of the poor advice her fellow priests and superiors gave her in her times of doubt. Mother Theresa’s sisterhood practiced self-flagellation; something done in many Catholic countries as penitence in solidarity with Jesus Christ. One of her mentors was Father Joseph Neuner of the Jesuits, who told her such words of wisdom that it must have truly driven her over the brink:
- “Your darkness is the divine gift of union with Jesus in his suffering. Your pain brings you close to your Crucified Spouse, and is the way you share His mission of redemption. There is no higher union with God.”
It’s no wonder she was driven to such insanity, being told such by your trusted mentor and confidant. Suffer more, get closer to Christ! And she passed that sentiment on to the thousands of people she “cared” for in her clinics.
In the end, Mother Theresa inspired countless millions around the world to be self-sacrificing and charitable, but the image of her that was cultivated by the media hides a strange and disturbed core of depravity and suffering.
While there was no doubt that Mother Theresa was driven and with purpose, and she accomplished something most of us would never come close to achieving, her true character as a worshiper of suffering and her blatant disregard for human life in the name of her faith in a suffering Jesus is not just disturbing, but downright insane.