In 1968, Malcolm Muggeridge – a British writer and broadcaster – made a film for the BBC called ‘Something Beautiful for God’, which by way of telling his own story on how he had converted to Christianity from a near life long agnosticism, featured an interview with and a visit to a hospital for the destitute sick and dying which was ran by an unknown nun from Albania, living and working in India, called Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu.
Finding it hard to photograph in the low light of the interior in the Mother’s ‘Home for the dying’, cameraman Kenneth MacMillan decided to load a new kind of film into his camera, which had been sent to the BBC by Kodak to be used in just such conditions.
Upon the crew’s return to London and in the editing suite, unsure if they had managed to capture anything of the conditions inside the hospice at all, Ken was amazed to find that every detail had been captured and that the new Kodak film had indeed performed brilliantly.
About to stand to his feet and applaud modern photographic technology, Ken’s praise for Kodak’s new process was immediately snatched from him, as Muggeridge leapt to his feet, proclaiming it to be the light of Mother Teresa and the first photographic evidence of a miracle. The legend of Mother Teresa was born.
Following her death in 1997, the Vatican began the process of canonising her, but for this to proceed towards full sainthood, the Church had to first establish documentry “evidence” of her having performed a miracle. Duly, In 2002, the Vatican recognised as a miracle the healing of a tumor in Monica Besra’s abdomen, following the application of a locket containing a picture of Mother Teresa, despite the protestations of both medical staff and the “healed” woman’s husband that, in fact, modern medicine and chemotherapy had actually been responsible for her successful recovery from a treatable cancer.
Mother Teresa was used by the Vatican, who happily ignored her work in India for decades, before she courted the attention and platitudes of royalty, tin-pot banana republic dictators and American presidents alike; as indeed they continue to use her now in death, for no other reason than to project an image of being in touch with the poor, despite in reality being completely disinterested in their desperate needs.
At the height of her international fame, the Vatican was fighting against an image, not helped by the increasingly extravagant travelling arrangements of Pope John Paul II, Karol Józef Wojtyła, of being a rich church ignorant of the needs of the poor. Teresa gave them the image of a happy to be destitute for Christ simple little woman, looking after the lowest of the low; the least of God’s children, all for the love of the mother Church. She was, simply put, a PR gift from heaven.
In 2006 Mother Teresa’s personal correspondence with the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, revealed that she had for the last 50 years of her life, “felt no presence of God whatsoever, neither in her heart or in the Eucharist.”; the sacrament in which Catholics are obliged to believe that the communion bread and wine is no longer bread and wine, but is in fact transformed by the holy spirit into the actual body and blood of Christ, in a process known since the 11th century as transubstantiation.
“The smile,” she writes, is “a mask” or “a cloak that covers everything.” Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. “I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love,” she remarks to an adviser. “If you were [there], you would have said, ‘What hypocrisy.'” [time.com]
Rather than being helped with her clear torment, at one point she was given an exorcism, to relieve her of “insomnia” and she was encouraged to think of these dark nights of the soul as a blessing, which brought her closer to the suffering of Christ on the cross. [BBC source]