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For better or worse, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has become the contemporary world's model of piety and sanctity, arguably more visible and accessible even than the Pope. So it was all the more unsettling when Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta(ed. by Brian Kolodiejchuk) revealed that her life was one of miserable struggle against "the dark night of the soul." Dominican Fr. Murray (The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality) offers a brief but sincere effort, from a devout Catholic standpoint, to make sense of the disturbing revelations. He admits that her perseverance in devout love of God and her fellow creatures in spite of her sense of abandonment is a "mystery" but suggests that the answer may lie in her letter to a friend: "Darkness may cover your soul...but be happy it is like that-for that too is the living proof that He has accepted you."
Poplin (education, Claremont Graduate Univ.), who spent two months in 1996 as a volunteer for Mother Teresa in Calcutta, combines a peek inside daily life at the Missionaries of Charity, an oblique account of Poplin's own movement from disbelief to piety, and a call for the integration of Christian perspectives in the modern academy. These important books, Murray's in particular, go far toward reclaiming Mother Teresa from the status of contemporary stereotype of religious commitment. For most collections.