Mother Teresa, History’s Most Notorious White Savior?

The controversial figure fetishized the suffering of Indians — yet the Catholic Church made her a saint.

mother teresa feature
Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta (Tim Graham, Getty Images)

Mehr Singh


August 7, 2023


11 min

“For love to be real, it has to hurt.”

Former nun Mary Johnson spent two decades hearing these words from the most famous nun in the world. Johnson recounted that once, when a nun who worked in the convent kitchen accidentally dropped a cauldron of boiling water on herself, Johnson tried to help her. The sister, who Johnson said suffered severe burns and was “in so much pain,” instead panicked and said, “Sister will be so angry,” referring to the head of the mission.

To Johnson’s horror, the injured nun returned to work the next day, limping. Johnson tried to convince the nun to rest, but to no avail. When Johnson threatened to complain to “Sister” about this, the nun meekly responded, “It is Sister who has told me to come.”

Mother Teresa is one of the most famous people to have walked the earth, inspiring everyone from Miss Universe winners to world leaders. During her life, she won a Nobel Prize, the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian honor), and America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death, the Vatican canonized her as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016. Despite her many accolades, mounting evidence points to how her achievements were lies. The same global icon of selflessness was more an “Angel of Death,” responsible for the suffering of many Indians.

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