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Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography Paperback – Bargain Price, August 25, 1998

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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“Simply the best biography of Mother Teresa around. Thoroughly researched, sensitively written and unfailingly inspiring, Kathryn Spink’s book should be, after Mother Teresa’s own writings, your first resource for understanding one of the greatest saints in Christian history.” (James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and My Life with the Saints )

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; (16th) edition (August 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062515535
  • ASIN: B006QS1N2E
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,699,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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60 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Swinney on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
A life such as Mother Teresa's is deserving of an insightful vibrant and skillfully told biography. I found Kathryn Spink's "Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography" left wanting. It did not live up to the magnitude of Mother Teresa's life of service and giving throughout the world but especially in India's Calcutta in the formation and running of the Sisters of Charity.
Spink's "Mother Teresa," reads, at times, like a laundry list of events with no coherent effort made to illuminate the person behind the events. The best biographies I have found don't rely so much on the cold hard history to build a story around, but rather insight as to who the person is and how they interacted with the world. I think of skillfully told biographies in which I walked away from the reading of them with insight, motivation, and the feeling that I knew the subject and was engaged in their life. Benson's "John Steinbeck: Writer," and Morris "Theodore Rex," come to mind as examples. Spink's "Mother Teresa," does not do the same.
I credit the writer for tackling some tough issues in the last two chapters. She addresses criticisms of Mother Teresa and the Sister's of Charity co-workers and does so without sidestepping difficult points of contention. Some social work critics fault the work of Mother Teresa for not wielding her influence to address the root causes of poverty and only tackling the end-product of suffering in a simplistic manner. In addition, Mother Teresa was loyal to the Catholic Church and stood staunch in support of difficult traditional stances espoused by that organization to include pro-life in all cases. Spink's does a good job of pitting Mother Teresa's perspective of service and belief to explain why she did what she did and why she believed as she did.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Mother Teresa authorized this biography, but there are other books and videos that have captured her essence better. There's not much in the way of interviews with her contemporaries and her opponents in order to paint a picture of the subject. Instead, it's a very adoring and very superficial account of her life. (For instance, Eileen Egan is mentioned twice and apparently was never interviewed. Mother Teresa's niece is absent from the narrative. The Christopher Hitchens charges are alluded to, but not mentioned or addressed.) You can actually learn more about Mother Teresa and her deep, abiding love for God in other biographies or in the Petrie documentary. I read this while going back and forth into my other Mother Teresa books of prayers and found this one lacking in the one thing that Mother Teresa would have wanted: a sense of the reason why she became who she was.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sheeba Arnold on June 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is one of a kind. It is very very inspiring. Mother Teresa has conveyed the ideas of service and brotherhood through her life. Such devotion and love could come only from an ever-shining and divine spirit. I have re-read quite a few chapters of the book and I can say enthusiastically that this book has helped me a lot in spiritual growth and transformation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A good introduction to Mother Teresa but limited by the nature of all 'authorised' versions in that the warts are not evident. There is not enough comment from the workers that surrounded her in Calcutta. I was looking for the day-to-day woman that in her own lifetime was recognised as a Living Saint. After having read the enthralling account of "THE Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth..." by Richard Patton, I had expected a harder look at this Christian icon. Like Patton's book I wanted to 'realise' the Christ that Mother Teresa saw in everyone. This is an excellent primer for those that do not already have any other books on their shelves about Mother Teresa, but lacks the insight to her humanity - the insight which rightfully claimed her the title of "Living Saint".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Michael Zima on March 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
"During her lifetime, Mother Teresa resisted having her biography written in full...in 1991, she gave Kathryn Spink, who had known Mother Teresa and been involved with her mission for thirteen years, to proceed with a full account of her life...It was also understood that the book would be completed only after Mother Teresa's death." This is part of the text from the inside of the front dust jacket of the book.

Few authors received this imprimatur of Mother Teresa. If for no other reason, this reason calls the inquirer of Mother Teresa's "life and views and of the work" (front jacket) to consider the book seriously.

It may amaze some Catholics to know that an authorized biographer of Mother Teresa is not a Catholic. Kathryn Spink is a Christian of sorts but not a Catholic. However, she loves the words and work of Mother Teresa and quotes Mother Teresa's opinion of the Missionaries of Charity as the, "most disorganized organization in the world" (Preface, vi). In that quote, it could be said, Mother Teresa was giving, indirectly, an answer to Christopher Hitchens caustic critique of her. It is hard for unbelievers to understand how disorder in the Church is evidence of the order of God--and yet it is, because God can write with broken pens.

There are no footnotes, no notes at all. However, there are many quotes that are gems in the thought and work of Mother Teresa including her Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (Appendix B). Some quotes are what Christian readers expect, "I said that even if they helped one person, that was all right. Jesus would have died for one person, for one sinner" (p. 87).
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