Skip to main content

Saint or Celebrity

Gezim Alpion, whose work I have mentioned before, recently produced a book on Mother Teresa, entitled Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? There is a good review of the book on the Spiked website.

This is the blurb from the publisher's website:
Mother Teresa was one of the most written about and publicised women in modern times. Apart from Pope John Paul II, she was arguably the most advertised religious celebrity in the last quarter of the twentieth century. During her lifetime as well as posthumously, Mother Teresa continues to generate a huge level of interest and heated debate. Gëzim Alpion explores the significance of Mother Teresa to the mass media, to celebrity culture, to the Church and to various political groups. A section explores the ways different vested interests have sought to appropriate her after her death, and also examines Mother Teresa's own attitude to her childhood and to the Balkan conflicts in the 1980s and 1990s. This book sheds a new and fascinating light upon this remarkable and influential woman, which will intrigue followers of Mother Teresa and those who study the vagaries of stardom and celebrity culture.


I haven't read the book. I don't think she ever considered herself a Saint. As humble as she was she only did what she knew best, help people. All the media circuits made of her a celebrity.
Knowing the character of mother Teresa, all the publicity helped her reach certain material goals, such as helping more people, otherwise she wouldn't have. I don’t think anybody would dare to say she used it for personal gain.
Anonymous said…
As usual, there was a Britt who took a swing at her on one of his books. In a few words he called her a bitch.(saw it on the Daily Show with Jon Stuart)

Jeesuz! We need more britts in albani. Alwyn, we both share allegiance to the same queen (albeit in different jurisdictions). How bout Albania give up its sovereignty in favor of her Majesty?
Anonymous, I don't know how much calling her "a bitch" affects her status.

Your majesty has ruled over a lot of places. We can see how they turned around. A mess!!..
Anonymous said…
tirana interior design ...
unfortunately there are a lot of people who say that she used it for personal gain, that she was always on limos, etc.
If Mother Teresa's integrity is questioned, where has this world come to?
Personally I prefer reading books on religion in Italian, preferably from the Vatican. They are more reasonable,and the language style is richer and more poetic.
What a title, "saint or celebrity"! I'm sure he'll sell.
olli said…
I think it is almost inevitable these days. Someone who has a reputation for being good will have that reputation trashed eventually.

Someone who has a bad reputation will always find someone willing to say he had some good points after all.

After all, if you are a journalist, a researcher, an academic, there is no point writing a piece that says the same as everyone else is saying.

Christopher Hitchens was the Brit who did the interview with Stewart. Ha also wrote a book her, but it was much more of a polemic than this one.

TIDC - speaking on behalf of British colonialism, the picture is more mixed that you allow for - another piece of revisionist revisionism.

As for HMQ - since the current British government can't even manage to run large parts Britain properly, I don't think letting them run anywhere else is a good idea.
Anonymous said…
Why didn't he have the courage to write this when she was alive?
The PC said…
Mother Teresa is nothing more to Albania than good PR. Aside from her ethnicity, she has hardly anything to do with anything Albania or Albanians are at the moment. It helps our image to have Albanian identity associated with this kind of international figure - nothing more! I am sure not many of you who have commented above have ever cared to investigate her life and work.

There is an infinite number of ethicaly problematic things with her, and the same is true for the likes of Ghandi and whoever else enjoys this kind of status. People need to get over this "sainthood" thing, it's not good for mental health.

I read the article by the author that Alwyn posted a while ago; this guy is too concerned with Albania's image (rightfully so as it it undeservedly $h%##y) to do anything to hurt her image. So everyne can relax.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Well, if it is good PR to Albania then so be it. I don't think she ever did anything for any of those reasons. Anyway, investigating her life, I'm not into her biography. I just base everything on others testimonials. I don't see you in Calcutta spending your time trying to help others, and if you are from there, you don't seem to manage to make it with the funds she managed to have, to do what she did. In regard of her sainthood that is Church's matter, my opinion should not count so, no comment on that. Ethical issues, keep digging then!

Popular posts from this blog

Dy Rame Per Tirane

I was watching Top Channel last night, first the news, then Fiks Fare. According to them Tirana's citizens now have a choice not only between Rama and Olldashi, but also between Rama and Rama. A minor right-wing faction, Parti 'Balli Kombetar' , submitted papers to the election authorities registering their candidate, Akile Rama. The people on Fiks Fare got hold of the papers and sent a reporter and camera team to the address listed for Mr A Rama. After much ringing of the bell the gate was reluctantly opened by a middle-aged woman who refused to speak to the reporter and tried to close the gate on her. Back in the studio Saimiri and Doctori - the two presenters of Fiks Fare - revealed that Mr Akile Rama was 73 years old, in hospital, and did not know he was now a candidate for mayor. They also compared two documents - the papers submitted on his behalf, and a genuine document he had signed. The signatures were not even remotely similar. There was an interview with the lea

Guide Turistike

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council , the future is bright for Albania. The Council ranks Albania ninth out of 174 countries for tourism growth over the next ten years. A summary of the Council's report is available, as is the full report complete with many pages of graphs, charts and spreadsheets. This summer I have seen a number of tourists on the streets of Tirana. Some of them may well be Albanian expats, or people of Albanian descent returning home to visit family, but others are genuine 'foreigners'. Judging from their appearance, they are probably best described as 'independent travellers' - the kind of people who are not interested in luxury hotels or crowded beaches. This is a good start, but independent travellers are not the kind of big spenders that the tourist industry likes. In the longer term, if Albania wants to bring in the kind of free-spending tourists who currently holiday in Croatia or Slovenia, there will have to be a huge invest

Big in Albania

Ask me how much I knew about Albania before coming here and my list would be a short one: Enver Hoxha, bunkers and Sir Norman Wisdom. I have no idea when or how I acquired this extensive body of knowledge, but the association of Norman Wisdom with Albania was by far the most interesting part of it. I remember watching Norman Wisdom's old films on British television. My parents were fans of his wholesome, slapstick comedy, but apparently missed the ideological significance of Pitkin's relationship with Mr Grimsdale. Pitkin, the downtrodden and oppressed representative of the workers, triumphed every time over his capitalist oppressor, Mr Grimsdale - and he got the girl. It took a theorist of Hoxha's insight and profundity to discern this deeper political message. It always seemed tremendously unlikely, yet the story of Sir Norman's fame in Albania has been reported in worthy sources like the BBC , the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph . According to the Guardian, when Wi