Canadian researchers are calling Mother Teresa “anything but a saint,” claiming that her generosity does not stand up to analysis and that her beatification was simply an effective media relations campaign.
The researchers making the claim are Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard of the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Senechal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. Their study will be published this month in the journal Religieuses.
According to the Daily Mail, the researchers studied nearly 300 documents about the life of Mother Teresa and concluded that several issues were ignored by the Vatican. They said the Vatican did not take into account “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding … abortion, contraception, and divorce.” In fact, they claim, Mother Teresa actually thought it was beautiful to watch the poor suffer.
Still, the trio claims, the Vatican went ahead with her beatification and canonization “to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline.”
The Times of India reports that doctors who visited some of the 517 “homes for the dying” that Mother Teresa opened in over 100 countries before her death observed a lack of hygiene and a shortage of food, painkillers, and care in these establishments. However, the problem wasn’t that there was a lack of funds, as the Order of the Missionaries of Charity raised hundreds of millions of dollars.
Larivee said, “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Teresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”
The researchers also said that one of the miracles attributed to Mother Teresa, the healing of Monica Besra, was actually caused by drugs doctors had given her for an ovarian cyst and tuberculosis. However, the Vatican called it a miracle because a medallion blessed by the nun was placed on her abdomen.
“Mother Teresa’s popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint,” Larivee said.
Still, even though her image may not be deserved, the researchers believe there is a positive effect to the “myth of Mother Teresa.
“If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice,” Larivee said.
Do you think the researchers are correct in saying that Mother Teresa was “anything but a saint”?