Like many people, I grew up seeing Mother Teresa, the famous nun of the Missionaries of Charity, on the evening news, on magazine covers or in the paper. Mother Teresa: A Life Inspired by Wyatt North is a compelling account of her life and her larger-than-life compassion. It begins with the strong influence of her parents and weaves through its narrative their values of loving your neighbor and political action.
In 1910, she was born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopkie (located in modern day Macedonia). Her early years were shaped by the death of her father followed by her own family’s near poverty during the times of religious feuding and fighting. Her mother’s example of sharing with and loving those in need despite their differences was long seen in the way Mother Teresa loved her neighbors around the world. She joined the Sisters of Loreto at age 18 and eventually chose to change her name to Teresa after Therese de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. Her early years were spent teaching children in India. However, they were from families that could afford to pay for schooling while outside the walled school grounds were people living in poverty lacking basic food, shelter and medical care. Among those trapped by the class system were the Dalit people who were lower than any of the other classes. They were untouchable and as such, the higher classes were not allowed to help or interact with them.
Eventually, she felt compelled to take action on their behalf and opened a clinic. Later more sites were opened and eventually their work spread around the world. Mother Teresa is famous for her work to “love your neighbor as yourself” as she cared for the sick and dying as well as the impoverished and ignored. As she became more well known for her work, she transitioned from her hands-on activities to an advocate on behalf of the under represented around the world and received numerous awards including the Nobel Peace Prize.
I enjoyed this book as a solid introduction to the life and work of Mother Teresa. It was not overly detailed but contained enough interesting information that I feel compelled to read other books that elaborate more. I found this to be a factual overview but one that lacked discussion of many of the deep issues Mother Teresa must have struggled with as she lived sacrificially around so much suffering. I would recommend this book to someone with limited knowledge of Mother Teresa whose interests lie in the areas of history, faith and justice.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Audible.com. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.