Mother Teresa’s credibility as a humanitarian is being questioned by critics, including some former followers, ahead of her canonization on September 4 when Pope Francis will officially name a saint.
A report from CNN revealed why there is doubt circulating among the faithful as Mother Teresa, a globally-recognized humanitarian, is scheduled for canonization on Sunday.
According to the report, Hemley Gonzalez, a previous volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity, was disillusioned with his supposed faithful leader, whom he described as a “troubled individual,” whose “horrific” legacy left him very uncomfortable.
The doubt Gonzalez felt started during the financial crisis of 2008. As a real state entrepreneur in Miami, he sought to take a break from the problems of his business by volunteering in one of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.
At the time, he was surprised at the situation of those seeking refuge in the Charity home in the Indian place now known as Kolkata.
He said he saw poor level of hygiene and medical care, with nuns using and reusing syringes that have not been sterilized properly, washed in mere water which he thought was not even clean.
People seeking refuge in the facility were also given clothes dirtied by urine or feces that he claims to be washed alongside cooking utensils side by side.
“It was a scene out of a World War II concentration camp.”
When he pointed out the unsanitary situation and attempted to offer help by installing a water heater, he was rebuffed by a single statement from the nuns.
“We don’t do that here. This is the way Jesus wants it.”
Of course, Gonzalez did not actually meet Mother Teresa face to face to let her know his thoughts about the situation in Kolkata, which other more senior volunteers believe was fair enough to provide for those who seek refuge there.
Chhanda Chakraborti, a volunteer in the same Missionaries of Charity for several years, deemed the criticisms thrown at Mother Teresa to be “rubbish,” adding that “critics are actually lying.”
“You go to Kalighat, people come in dying condition. Most of them regain their lives. How can they give life to a dying person while being careless with their health?” she noted.
According to Missionaries of Charity spokesperson Sunita Kumar, who is also a close friend of Mother Theresa, they did not intend to start a five-star hotel when the Missionaries of Charity was established and just wanted to offer basic care for the poor.
However, the disillusioned volunteers believe that maintaining basic care is not an excuse for the appalling situation in the Charity homes, considering the massive financial support the group receives as donations.
According to CNN, they found very little information about the money flow in Mother Teresa’s charity group and was denied an interview with the current leader of the organization.
The only statement they received was one from Sister Joan of Arc who leads the Kolkata shelter.
“The funds are coming. We can feed every hungry mouth every day. It’s the miracle of love.”
Of course, that is not enough to explain how much money they are getting and how they are spending it per the critics’ standards, with Gonzalez questioning why Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity is not subjected to the same level of accountability as other groups such as The Red Cross.
“Why is this organization not being held to the same standard? They get a free pass because of religion; they get a free pass because of the influence of the Vatican.”
But despite these doubts, thousands of pilgrims are still marching to converge on St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, September 4, where Mother Teresa is set to be canonized by Pope Francis as the modern-day “saint of the gutter,” per USA Today.
[Photo by AP Images File]