Mother Teresa scholar in Birmingham takes on London feminist critic

Dr Gëzim Alpion Universiteti i Birminghamit, Angli

Gëzim Alpion, Ph.D. Birmingham University

By C.M. Paul.

Birmingham (UK) – A Mother Teresa scholar in Birmingham, UK, has taken on writer Kitty Wenham – a London-based activist who was raised Catholic – who made claims in a feminist site that ‘Mother Teresa was a hypocrite with no real interest in helping people – and a symbol of white supremacy to boot.’

A post on the Babe website, (25 November 2016), which has a huge audience of millennial women, claimed that St Teresa of Calcutta – who was declared a saint on 4th September this year – is as morally bankrupt as medieval crusaders, and did willful violence to the people she cared for.

Wenham further accuses Mother Teresa of ‘being a hypocrite because she accepted high-quality healthcare when she was dying.’

One of the most authoritative Mother Teresa scholar and author Prof. Gezim Alpion of Birmingham University expressed his dismay when Matters India asked for a reaction.

“Mother Teresa, a white supremacist! And I thought I had heard every vitriolic remark against this woman!,” said the Mother Teresa country man.

Dr Alpion explains: “How could have Mother Teresa been a white supremacist when her stuck-up Irish Loreto nuns found it impossible to consider her as European ‘enough’ thanks to their ignorance and bigotry, from 1929 until 1948, when she finally broke free? Would a white supremacist highlight poverty in the West as much as in other parts of the world as Mother Teresa did with such candour and consistency from the moment the Vatican allowed her to open homes outside India in 1967?”

He further argues: “Had Mother Teresa been a white supremacists, the Indian women, especially the rich and famous, who worked with and loved her for 69 years, would have cut her down to size.”

Dr Alpion who has interacted with several key Mother Teresa contemporaries in India asserts: “Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet a number of Indian women in India and in several countries who were close to Mother Teresa. None of them has ever alluded that she displayed any sign of being a white supremacist.”

Dr Alpion recalls with fresh memory his conversations with people connected with Mother Teresa saying:“More recently, I had a lengthy discussion on Mother Teresa on 2 September in Rome with the renowned Indian singer Usha Uthup, an eclectic believer. This artist remarked that, at no point in her many years of friendship and collaboration with Mother Teresa, did the Albanian-born nun ever mention the name of Jesus. This is how tactful this nun, who was exceptionally devoted to Christ, was when dealing with people who followed faiths other than Christianity.”

He laments, “It’s a pity that feminist criticism of Mother Teresa was biased from the start. That this bias is partially linked to the sweeping statements against her by one of the leading figures of Second Wave Feminism, makes this even more of a sad story. Germaine Greer should have known better when she called Mother Teresa a ‘religious imperialist’.”

As an enlightened academic Dr Alpion does not hesitate to admonish Mother Teresa critics saying, “In spite of some of Mother Teresa’s controversial views on women, a number of which I have taken issue with in my studies, I still believe that she is someone whose life and work feminists should look more carefully into. The Holy See always was and remains a patriarchal institution. And yet, Mother Teresa was a powerful voice to the end in this bastion of patriarchy.”

As for the accusation that she was treated in expensive hospitals, Alpion adds bemused: “Her critics apparently still don’t realise that she was one of the world’s most celebrated people.”

As a final salvo Dr Alpion, himself ‘a spiritual-rationalist’ who does not fit any particular religious labels says: ”My answer to those who accuse her of being in the company of the rich rather often, is: how can one help out the poor if one does not have the support of the rich? Or did they expect Mother Teresa to perform miracles? Well, irrespective of what the Church says, Mother Teresa is on record of saying that she never had any vision. Her devotion to the poor of all races, colours, religions, ethnicity is miraculous itself, and, in my view, the only miraculous deed she ever performed.”


Published on: by: