An Unquenchable Thirst

An Unquenchable Thirst

Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and An Authentic Life

Book - 2011
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An unforgettable spiritual autobiography about a search for meaning that begins alongside one of the great religious icons of our time and ends with a return to the secular world
At seventeen, Mary Johnson saw Mother Teresa's face on the cover of Time and experienced her calling. Eighteen months later, she entered a convent in the South Bronx to begin her religious training. Not without difficulty, this bright, independent-minded Texas teenager eventually adapted to the sisters' austere life of poverty and devotion, and in time became close to Mother Teresa herself.

Still, beneath the white and blue sari beat the heart of an ordinary young woman facing the struggles we all share--the desire for love and connection, meaning and identity. During her twenty years with the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Donata, as she was known, grappled with her faith, her sexuality, the politics of the order, and her complicated relationship with Mother Teresa. Eventually, she left the church to find her own path--one that led to love and herself.

Provocative, profound, and emotionally charged, An Unquenchable Thirst presents a rare, privileged view of  Mother Teresa. At the same time, it is a unique and magnificent memoir of self-discovery.

Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385527477
Branch Call Number: B/JOHNSON
Characteristics: xv, 526 p. ; 25 cm.


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Jul 06, 2016

Mary Johnson writes about her call to a vocation and her love for Mother Teresa. Yet the undercurrent of politics in the church keeps her wondering if she did the right thing.
The book goes on and on. It would have been better if it had been shorter.

Sep 10, 2014

At the start of the story, Mary Johnson is a nineteen year old, who inspired by a Time article about Mother Teresa, joins the Missionaries of Charity. Twenty years later, she leaves in disillusionment and some time after that discovers she is an atheist. This is a remarkable inside story about an ostensibly charitable organization - and without doubt it has helped thousands of people in the inner cities of both the developed and developing worlds. But it is also a group driven by politics and its idea of what Teresa said even though there is proof she never did say those things or if she even wrote the "Rules". Furthermore, it is the home of several women who deliberately broke their vows of chastity and seduced other sisters, including Johnson herself, with impugnity. Most troubling is how the general council of the order forced Teresa into another six year term as Superior General in 1990, even though she made it clear she wanted to retire after a lifetime of service. The conclusion one sadly draws is that the group is, like Opus Dei, a cult inside the Catholic Chuch and a power unto itself and is not willing to deal fairly with its critics. As a Catholic, I can't say I blame Johnson for wanting to quit God - after all, as she makes clear, the Church quit her.

Jul 11, 2012

A well written and thoughtful approach to the difficulties of living a life of unquestioning obedience. Hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time.

Jun 27, 2012

An awesome book. Extremely well written. Thanks Mary Johnson for this glance into the nunnery.

JMFlaherty May 16, 2012

An awesome book. Extremely well-written. Couldn't put it down. What you don't know about Mother Teresa's nuns. Wait til you get to the chapter entitled "Sexaholic." Marvelous mix of pathos and humor. Real it!


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