The Telegraph (England), Nov. 29, 2002
By Bruce Johnston in Rome
Mother Teresa, who was put on the fast track to sainthood by the Pope after her death five years ago, was tormented by a crisis of belief for 50 years, her writings reveal.
Her letters and diaries present a completely different picture of the nun and Nobel peace prize winner from her public image as a woman confident of her faith.
Biographies would have to be rewritten to take the revelation into account, it was said in Rome yesterday.
The previously unpublished material is to be brought out as a volume in Italy. It was collected by Roman Catholic authorities in Calcutta after her death at the age of 87.
Mother Teresa, who worked for years among the poor of Calcutta, wrote in 1958: “My smile is a great cloak that hides a multitude of pains.”
Because she was “forever smiling”, people thought “my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing and that my intimacy with God and union with his will fill my heart. If only they knew . . .”
Mother Teresa, who was greatly admired by Diana, Princess of Wales, said in another letter: “The damned of Hell suffer eternal punishment because they experiment with the loss of God.
“In my own soul, I feel the terrible pain of this loss. I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.”
Il Messeggero, Rome’s popular daily newspaper, said: “The real Mother Teresa was one who for one year had visions and who for the next 50 had doubts – up until her death.”
Her years of doubt coincided with the period when, after having visions, she decided to leave her teaching post at a privileged Calcutta school to help India’s poor.
After her death the Pope waived the Vatican rule that prohibits investigation of the cause for beatification until five years after the subject’s death. It was the first time the rule had been put aside in recent memory.
Mother Teresa’s personal writings are being published next month as Il Segreto di Madre Teresa (Mother Teresa’s Secret).