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Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  3,251 ratings  ·  481 reviews
This historic work reveals the inner spiritual life of one of the most beloved and important religious figures in history. During her lifelong service to the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa be
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Doubleday Religion
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Fergus
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An INCREDIBLE saga - and a testament to the strength of sheer human faith and perseverance though endless, bone-chilling duress!

Have you ever been gripped by an painful contraction of your solar plexus as you grapple with a nameless, insurmountable inner anguish?

Mother Teresa - that endlessly busy, always-smiling missionary - had that horrible affliction without pause for most of her life.

And this is the riveting story of her ultimate triumph over that deadly existential dread.

Nowadays doctors
...more
Lu-ann
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I can totally understand other reviewers' confused/dismayed reactions to the "dark night of the soul" of Mother Teresa, which is especially poignant as it lasted for over 50 years. But, perhaps I can share some light on the subject (pun intended :)). Our dear Bishop Emeritus in Charlotte, NC, Bishop William Curlin, was a spiritual director for Mother and knew her for MANY years, having met her when he was a young priest in Washington, DC, and having given retreats to her and her sisters and freq ...more
booklady
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: Mary Alice Moore
‘Pray—I must be able to give only Jesus to the world. People are hungry for God. What [a] terrible meeting [it] would be with our neighbor if we give them only ourselves.’ p.281

Seeing through Mother Teresa’s eyes the terrible spiritual darkness she daily lived is to enter another realm. For decades the world thought the black holes of abject poverty, sickness, death, and loneliness her true horrors. Little did anyone know that all the while the Missionary of Charity Religious (sisters, brothers
...more
Clark
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it
I have to be honest, I didn't finish this book. And, I'm ambivalent about it, the book that is.

It's mostly Mother Teresa's letters to her spiritual director/confessor and bishop and others, with some interpretive and connecting material in between from the author. I found the author's emphases to be strange. For example, the time of waiting while the Missionaries of Charity was being considered and approved by the church hierarchy was stretched out over a handful of chapters. I made it exactly h
...more
Astin
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In this book, I encountered the private writings of somebody that I've always admired, and touted as my personal hero. Through this book, I discovered the specific reasons why Mother Teresa has always been a person who resonates with my personal ethos. Her deep devotion and love of Jesus is a recognition of her depravity as a human being, her complete devotion to the concept of servent, and her embodiment of the command to love one another. The result is somebody that you can't help but admire, ...more
Dave Wayton
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the spiritually sophisticated
I found this book somewhat disturbing. There is no doubt in my mind that Mother Theresa is a saint; her behavior leaves no doubt about that. And it is not her spirituality that perplexes me, but rather her understanding of that spirituality. She seems to contradict herself from one sentence to the next. Admittedly, she is working from the context of a spirituality formed in a time and place very different from our current one; but she seems to show no growth in understanding from her experience. ...more
Sami
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This woman was such a blessing to our world and her teachings and example should for always be emulated and practiced
Lee Harmon
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Maybe you read the story of Mother Teresa from her friends, those who served alongside her. Maybe you read it differently from her detractors, like Christopher Hitchens. Here is the story from her own hand … a brutally honest account, because she had no intention of anyone ever reading it. This is an annotated collection of her personal letters, mostly to those in authority over her in the Church. She begged repeatedly that these letters be destroyed, so that the world would never know what was ...more
Allie
Mother Teresa had so much love for God and for others, that to sit down and read about her work...is difficult. It is difficult to measure my own feeble efforts to love against her self-sacrifice and dedication.

Yet this book has helped me. The most valuable thing I took away was the idea that we each must look to the unloved, unwanted and uncared for in our own homes, community and life--and that we must realize that whatever we do to them, we do to Jesus. We cannot separate our care for them an
...more
Cara
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Richard Simmons
I'm demolished by this book. Honestly I still don't know what to make of it but for the time being I am absolutely consumed, brained and agog by it.

I was raised Catholic but the church and I parted ways many moons ago. Much like an enstranged relative, I still keep up with news of what's shaking with the new Pope, what taco Jesus appeared in and what photo's crying blood and all that.

Mother Teresa has always intrigued me. Always. How can someone be so selfless? Divine Calling? Mental illness?
...more
Rachel
Nov 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
I am so disappointed in this book! The prologue explains all about how Mother Teresa never wanted her papers published, and even asked people to burn letters she sent to them. Now that she's dead she'll surely understand that her life belonged not to her but to the church, which can do with her writings as it sees fit. I guess that's probably true, but still, ick.
Furthermore, I expected to read about the crises of faith that working among the poor without seeing improvement over time might natur
...more
D.L. Mayfield
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a really hard (and long!) read. The insight (via personal letters) into Mother Teresa's inner darkness left me reeling. The book, however, couches these desperate and intense thoughts with many words about how good all of this inner turmoil was. I found it disturbing, confusing, and not as inspirational as I suspect it was supposed to be portrayed. Mother Theresa, for all the good she did in the world, felt unwanted and unloved by God. Is this the cup she would accept for any of the peo ...more
Gela
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I actually read this book a few years ago and just remembered it while adding books to my everlasting impression book shelf. I absolutely love Mother Teresa, she is my idol. I actually wanted to be a nun at one time because of her but then I got introduced to Victoria's Secrets, high heels, and boy's. Don't judge me! lol I have to say that I felt bad at first for reading this book because she never wanted anyone to read private notes and that her faith, like many others, had faltered at times. H ...more
Alicia
May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inferno
I could not finish this book, I was so irritated and outraged. I'm surprised at how polar opposite Mother Teresa's values are to mine. Christopher Hitchens said that Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. I could not agree more with Hitchens. Poverty and suffering are not gifts from God. Mother Teresa did nothing to empower women. How is this not a scandal?

Theologically she could not get beyond the Suffering of Christ. It was her complete focus - the crucified L
...more
Sue
Oct 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Reveals a level and type of devotion that I am unable to comprehend.
The editing was excellent. I especially appreciated the parallels between what Mother Teresa experienced and what other saints experienced.
But still, as a book, it wasn't that satisfying.
...more
Mary Alice
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Booklady
Shelves: religion, favorites
Wonderful book. Change your thinking kind of book.
C.S. Wachter
“The fruit of silence is prayer,
The fruit of prayer is faith,
The fruit of faith is love,
The fruit of love is service,
The fruit of service is peace.” –Mother Teresa

I received this book as a gift and thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into the life and faith of a remarkable woman. Her consuming love of Jesus shined forth even throughout the lengthy period of her Dark Night, as she kept that pain well hidden from all except her closest advisors. Though she requested her letters, etc. be destroyed, I a
...more
Yuen Tan
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you do not believe in God, this book is not for you. This is a book about the internal being of Mother Teresa.

“ It was not the suffering she endured that made her saint, but the love with which she loved her life through all suffering”.

I am a big fan of M Teresa, she is my most admired person in our time. Most would have heard about the good deeds she had done, full of positivity and practical wisdom. Yet, without understand and appreciate her internal sufferings and the determination to walk
...more
Sara
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Girl meets God. Girl falls in love with God. Girl starts religious order because God told her to. Girl spends the rest of her life feeling deeply, utterly, irrevocably abandoned by God.

That's pretty much the plot of this alternately compelling and disturbing spiritual biography. The backbone of the book are the letters Mother Teresa wrote to her spiritual directors. First they detail the visions and inspiration that made her suddenly leave her nice decent Sisters of Loretto school-teacher gig an
...more
Francesca Williams
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read these letters during a very difficult time in my life and they brought me great comfort.

Mother Teresa certainly wasn’t perfect, but she devoted her life to helping suffering people, despite a feeling of being estranged from God once she began her journey.

There was one particular quote from a letter that I found more interesting than the rest of the book. Before Mother Teresa started helping the poor, she heard God say to her “I thirst,” among many other things. A monk who did not know an
...more
Edie
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
I still haven't come to terms with this book. I have always admired Mother Teresa so much, but the book was a major disappointment. Yes, I understand the saint's depression, a very human condition, but the author made no attempt to analzye anything about her choices. The style of the book was tedious; it could have benefited from considerable editing and deletion of the heavy repetition. It was as if the author were so in awe of her that he could not question some of her human failings. Who woul ...more
Cindy
May 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've always been impressed by the sacrifice and life of service given by Mother Teresa. I was surprised by the revealations found in her personal letters. Her innermost thoughts and burdens are shared from a most sincere heart.

It was interesting to learn what led Mother Theresa to begin her sisterhood. She shares some of the struggles and dangers they faced as they served the people.

I was disappointed to learn of her sorrow and lack of peace. The end of her life was very sad. I hope she has fo
...more
Patrick Riviere
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Started it on a whim - once I started I couldn't stop. Fantastic book that really shows the incredible faith of Mother Teresa. You really get to know her from her writings and at the same time are convicted and encouraged in your own faith. 100% recommended for anyone looking to delve deeper into the spiritual life. ...more
Margarida
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a biography... What a life!! Inspiring!
Lee Kuiper
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I, like the rest of the world, was very surprised when I heard about Mother Teresa’s secret internal struggle. I read the article in TIME when the story broke in 2007 and found this book on sale one day in 2011. I bought it, started reading it 2012, and then set it on the shelf for 7.5 years.

Truth be told, the first quarter of the book was quite dry and, by my less than stellar recollection, somewhat didactic and overly detailed in setting up the context. Perhaps Brian Kolodiejchuk/the Catholic
...more
Kristin
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Kristin by: Larry Crabb and Bill Hybels referred to this book in their books
Very interesting and thought provoking. There are many of her personal letters in here, so you get a glimpse into her heart and life. I didn't know much about Mother Teresa before reading this book. She had such a heart for Jesus and her calling was clear...and the most difficult part of her journey was after she started the Missionaries of Charity to the poor, she began "the dark night of the soul" and rarely experienced Jesus' closeness like she had before that period of time. She finally saw ...more
Jo Gomez
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book needs to be read in short spurts so there is time for the message to percolate. What is most impressive is Mother Teresa's devotion to Jesus and her constant commitment to God's work with the rejected, the unloved, and the unwanted. She continued to persist in this work with the poor even though she had no feelings of love or affirmation from God. She did come to understand that this absence of feelings of love was an opportunity to experience the feelings of rejection of those she ser ...more
Andrea
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, inspiring, and a bit heartbreaking.
This book is a compilation of some of Mother Teresa's letters. Most highlight her tenacity, her faith, and her massive love and care for the poor and destitute. For much of her life after her MC ministry begins, she experienced a darkness within- an inability to feel God's presence, and what she describes as a coldness of spirit where she feels nothing. Yet those around her describe her as a pure reflection of Christ's love. We see the evolution of h
...more
Maddly Peculiar
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful and humbling life Saint Mother Teresa lived. I find it easy to forget that she’s a real saint in heaven to whom I can pray. It’s so incredible being able to read about her life and how much suffering she went through. Most people know she went through spiritual desolation while she was in Calcutta, this book barely scratched the surface of how much darkness and sorrow she endured. She was so humble about her whole life that she never wrote down the depth of her pain. Her life on ...more
Abby Glann
I loved learning so much of St. Mother Teresa's life and interior life. But. This book drug so much in the middle. It felt like much of the middle could have been condensed, as it was very repetitive and didn't cover any information in such a way we would miss anything. The beginning and final chapters are far more engaging. I love this saint even more in reading this book, but felt it took a lot of effort to push and read it through. ...more
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Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Brian Kolodiejchuk obtained a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, Canada, in 1977 and his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba, Canada, in 1981. He received a M.Div. in Theology from St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York, USA in 1985 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Saybrook Institut ...more

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