Even as she was selflessly ministering to the poor, Mother Teresa felt nothing of God’s presence, according to stunning personal letters published in a new book and this week’s TIME magazine. The nun wrote of a great “silence and emptiness” and the “pain and darkness” in her soul during a spiritual crisis that haunted the last half century of her life.
Catholic scholars believe the book, compiled as part of an effort to canonize Teresa, will enhance her legacy, giving an example to others facing doubt. For atheists, the book reads instead as a woman’s tragic battle with an absent God. Mother Teresa came to see her spiritual emptiness as “a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth.”