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For years Mother Teresa has appeared at the top of every list of the world's most influential women, in company with Diana, Princess of Wales, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Different in almost every respect from those famous women, she did share one important quality: she was a star. In Mother Teresa, biographer Kathryn Spink goes beyond her subject's public persona to examine the life of a modern-day saint. In the course of tracing Mother Teresa's life--from her birth in Albania to her years in Ireland and then India with the Loreto Sisters to the founding of her own order, the Missionaries of Charity--Spink explores the ramifications of her subject's life and work on the lives of those she labored for and with.
Mother Teresa's frail appearance belied the steely will and public-relations savvy she brought to the task of loosening potential donor's purse strings and attracting attention to her cause. Was Mother Teresa a kind of spiritual colonialist, as critics have charged, more interested in helping the poor die in a state of grace than in changing the conditions in which they lived? Spink discusses this and other thorny questions with grace and honesty, at the same time emphasizing her subject's admirable achievements. [via]