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An Unquenchable Thirst

Following Mother Teresa in search of an authentic life

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


At seventeen, Mary Johnson saw a photo of Mother Teresa on the cover of TIME magazine, and experienced her calling. Eighteen months later she entered a convent in the South Bronx, to begin her religious training. Not without difficulty, this boisterous, independent-minded teenager eventually adapted to the sisters’ austere life of poverty and devotion, but beneath the white-and-blue sari an ordinary woman faced the struggles we all share, the desire for love and connection, meaning and identity.

During her years as a Missionary of Charity, Mary Johnson rose quickly through the ranks and came to work alongside Mother Teresa. Mary grappled with her faith, her desires for intimacy, the politics of the order and her complicated relationship with Mother Teresa. Finally, she made the hard, life-changing decision to leave the order to find her own path, and eventually to leave the Church altogether.

The story of this compellingly honest woman will speak to anyone who has ever grappled with the mysteries and wonders of life and faith.

From Publishers Weekly

13 June 2011 – Johnson, a writer and Fellow of the MacDowell Colony, left the Missionaries of Charity in 1997. She overshares the 20 years she spent as a nun under the direction of Mother Theresa. As Sister Donata (a name meaning "freely given"), Johnson lived obediently in poverty and chastity most of the time. Yet she was chafed by the rules more than by her blue-edged sari. For her, Jesus' words, "I came that you may have life, and have it to the full," meant she had to leave: "my faith left my soul cold." She profiles "Mother" beyond the myth and provides chilling reports of vicious, bullying nuns. She details her growth from a teenager obsessed with the ideal of Mother Theresa into an adult who needed touch and privacy and eye contact, all forbidden by Mother. Johnson writes candidly of self-flagellation, humiliation, and her furtive exploration of her sexuality. Johnson "recreated" the first half of her story, going back to her adolescence and her initial decade as a nun, from her memories; it's tedious compared to the intense, believable second half that includes her last years of working with Mother Theresa. The epilogue, covering her life after she left the order, teases with riches never mined.
An Unquenchable Thirst
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: 17 May 2011
  • Publisher: Hachette Australia
  • Seller: Hachette Australia Pty Ltd
  • Print Length: 544 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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