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Book Review: A Call to Mercy

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner

A Call to Mercy

Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve

By Mother Teresa

Image Books

Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized by Pope Francis on September 4th, coinciding with the conclusion of his Year of Mercy jubilee, honoring those engaged in works of mercy. This inspiring book is an ideal way to mark the occasion, reflecting on some of her astounding acts of service and mercy via her own words—shared here in material published posthumously for the first time—and through testimonies of those who worked alongside her.

A Call to Mercy covers each of the seven corporeal and seven spiritual works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, and counseling the doubtful. In each chapter, Father Brian Kolodiejchuk has collected some of her unpublished teachings, along with stories from people who worked with the Nobel Prize–winning nun. Each chapter concludes with an opportunity for reflection, whether it’s a prayer, a quote from scripture, or questions for meditation.

Though Mother Teresa died in 1997, it’s amazing how relevant the social issues she grappled with still are. There are always untouchables—in some decades they have leprosy; in others, AIDS; in our era, they are transgender and told not to use the bathroom. There are always refugees, too, from different places, but waves of them. The gaping maw of human need doesn’t close. We need more saints. No, no, Mother Teresa writes, “This is where we need each other. It’s where what we can do, you may not be able to do. But what you can do, we cannot do. If we put these two works together, there can be something beautiful for God.”

It’s hard to comprehend how she could have such superhuman fortitude; such unbelievable selflessness; such passion for Christ; such an ability to transcend physical disgust. Then you realize, Ah, of course. That’s what makes her a saint.


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