Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mother Teresa's "Saintliness" Is Questioned

In the 1970s and 1980s Mother Teresa became quite famous around the world. Indeed, she was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was beloved around the world and had the reputation for being a type of living "saint" because it was said that she cared for the very poor and the very ill in a slum of Calcutta, India.  A new report has been released by researchers, however, who feel that Mother Teresa may not have been as saintly as she was portrayed to be by the Catholic Church.

What is very strange is that the researchers seem to argue that Mother Teresa deliberately allowed people to suffer instead of spending money which had been donated to her to help alleviate the suffering. The researchers seem to imply (suggest) that Mother Teresa felt that suffering was "good" for the poor people and that it was better for them to suffer than not to suffer.

Yet, when Mother Teresa needed medical attention, she received it at a top-of-the-line US hospital.

She was willing to pray for people, but not willing to spend money to help them. Indeed, the researchers claim she enjoyed watching the poor suffer and felt it was beautiful.

A very interesting article:

Vocabulary words to help you understand the (first) article:

By the way, there is something weird/strange in the first article in regard to the lettering. Before every quote (a quote begins with " and ends with ") you see this: â€. That symbol seems to be a mistake that you see throughout the first article. For example: 
The controversial study, to be published this month in the journal of studies in religion/sciences called Religieuses, says that Teresa — known across the world as the apostle of the dying..." 

a reputation - this is how people generally think of another person or feel about him/her

a slum - a very poor, dirty, often dangerous or unhealthful neighborhood

a saint - in the Catholic Church a saint is someone who lived a "holy" life or a Godly life and who is now certainly in heaven after his/her death. Heaven is the place Christians believe "good" people go to after they die.

to be portrayed - to be shown as

deliberately - if you do something deliberately, you choose to do it, it is not an accident

to alleviate - to make better. To alleviate suffering is to reduce it.

controversial - something controversial is something that people argue about, or something that causes heated debate

orchestrated - if something is orchestrated, it is designed ahead of time.  An orchestra is a large group of musicians.  To orchestrate something is to design and develop something. If something is orchestrated, it is usually implied that what is happening is not "naturally" happening but that people have created it for a reason.

a campaign - an effort

miserly - if you are a miser, you do not like spending money

the apostle of the dying and downtrodden - the follower of Jesus who cared about the dying and the downtrodden - those who were unlucky or unfortunate. Downtrodden literally means those who have been stepped on by others.

dubious way of caring for the sick - doubtful way of caring for the sick; not the correct way of caring for the sick

glorifying instead of relieving - to glorify suffering instead of relieving suffering is to say positive things about suffering instead of ending it

beatification and canonization -  this is the process the Catholic Church goes through to turn a person into a saint.

to revitalize the church - to bring life to the church

hallowed image - sacred or holy or Godly image

her beatification was orchestrated - the process of making her into a saint was designed or created by powerful people and did not come naturally

a media campaign -  an effort by newspapers and TV stations

to debunk a myth - to show a myth is false.  A myth, in this case, means a false story making someone seem better than they were.

dogmatic - unwilling to consider other viewpoints

without receiving apt care - apt care would mean appropriate care

hygiene - cleanliness

a paucity of funds - a lack of funds, not enough funds.  The article is saying she had enough money, but she didn't use it.

eulogistic - good or kind words

to waive s/t - to not follow the usual procedure. For example, if a high school student is very poor and cannot afford to pay an application fee to a college, the college will usually waive the fee.

a medallion - this is something you usually wear around your neck - it is a small, round medal on a chain. The medal usually shows some Christian religious figure.  The church claimed that by placing the medallion on the sick person's body, she was cured.  But doctors point out that medicine really cured the sick woman, and not Mother Teresa's medallion. A "miracle" is when something wonderful happens that cannot be explained by science.  The church claims that, basically, Mother Teresa's medallion cured a woman of cancer and that this is proof that Teresa is in heaven helping people now.


How shocked are you by these articles?  Did you use to believe that Mother Teresa was a "saint"?  How do you feel about her now?

Why do you think these researchers wrote this article?


Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway.

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.
Yes, I'm also the guy who created the scandal in Asia two years ago :P

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