Virginia Barton

Calcutta on our doorstep


Catholic Herald, 26 August 1988


Review: Heart of Joy: Mother Teresa (Fount Paperbacks, £2.95)


madre_teresa_calcuttaFor someone who is not an author, but a person “who lives and works intensely on behalf of the poorest of the poor”, this is a fine little book and one that many an established author would be happy to have a hand in.

The nameless compiler has collected excerpts from speeches, interviews, and instructions to her Sisters and Co-Workers, given by Mother Teresa during the last decade or so. Subtitled The Transfiguring Power of Self-Giving, Heart of Joy demonstrates exactly that.

Sheer love beams from every page. Written to ensure that the “echo of Mother Teresa’s words is stronger, that the sweeping force of her example is manifest”, the intention is fulfilled. Nobody could read even a page or two and be unaffected.

Her dynamic personality and the power-house of sacrificial love for the least fortunate among us, have made Mother Teresa’s a household name. She is the antithesis of everything modern society holds dear and her message turns upside-down all the accepted goals of the affluent society, exposing them for what they are self-seeking.

Her message is simple, as direct as a laser-beam, and is contained within the first two commandments. And we don’t have to up-sticks and go to Calcutta because the lonely, neglected and the poor are with us always, even within the confines of our own families.

An excellent book for the young and idealistic or the old and disenchanted. It is full of hope. Reading it one feels the world is a better place because Mother Teresa treads it and one is encouraged to throw off the old Adam and start afresh. Would that your reviewer could communicate some of this joyful hope to you.


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