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“I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”
– Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa. The name stirs up a warm sentiment, doesn’t it? We think of the tiny, wizened nun who gave up worldly pleasures to focus on the poor of Calcutta. One of Time Magazine’s 100 most important people of the century. Nobel Peace Prize winner, and humanitarian helper to the poor. She has even been fast-tracked to beatification– the first step on the path to Sainthood.
Revered by almost all Christians- not just Catholics- her order, Missionaries of Charity takes in millions of dollars each year: “Their particular mission is to labor for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor all over the world.” Established in 1950, the “M.C.” has around 4,500 nuns in service throughout 133 countries.
Throughout the Western world the money rolls in from kindhearted souls moved to tears by photos like these.
How much money do they take in?
From the conservative German magazine, Stern :
Susan Shields served the [ Bronx M.C. order] for a total of nine and a half years as Sister Virgin. “We spent a large part of each day writing thank you letters and processing cheques,” she says. “Every night around 25 sisters had to spend many hours preparing receipts for donations. It was a conveyor belt process: some sisters typed, others made lists of the amounts, stuffed letters into envelopes, or sorted the cheques. Values were between $5 and $100,000. Donors often dropped their envelopes filled with money at the door. Before Christmas the flow of donations was often totally out of control. The postman brought sackfuls of letters — cheques for $50000 were no rarity.” Sister Virgin remembers that one year there was about $50 million in a New York bank account. $50 million in one year! — in a predominantly non-Catholic country. How much then, were they collecting in Europe or the world? It is estimated that worldwide they collected at least $100 million per year — and that has been going on for many many years.
The American Institute of Philanthropy does not even list Missionaries of Charity in their ratings, because with no financial disclosures ever made, there is no way to judge its efficiency.
One of the female residents of Shanty Dan, a M.C. home for the mentally ill where women receive electroshock therapy as punishment. Full interview here.
Where does the money go?
With charities run by volunteers, who themselves are sworn to oaths of poverty, donation money should be used to better the lives and ease the suffering of the world’s poor. After all, that is why most people donate. They are hoping their dollars are buying clean needles, an antibiotic regimen, nourishing food, immunizations, and toys for orphans.
“You should visit the House in New York, then you’ll understand what happens to donations,” says Eva Kolodziej. The Polish lady was a Missionary of Charity for 5 years. “In the cellar of the homeless shelter there are valuable books, jewelery and gold. What happens to them? — The sisters receive them with smiles, and keep them. Most of these lie around uselessly forever.”
Surely in Calcutta it is different? Needs there must be even greater, after all. Hemley Gonzolez was so outraged by the horrors he witnessed as a volunteer in the M.C. homes, it spurred him to form the organization, Stop the Missionaries of Charity. Using interviews, photographs, and testimonials of workers from within the Missionaries of Charity homes, he hopes to show the world the true story, and push for reforms and financial transparency. Says Gonzolez :
If you want to truly make a difference, start by demanding that the Missionaries of Charity report every single dollar they have received in donations until today and how all the funds have really been applied. If they do so, the world will discover they’ve been quite busy propagating their religious dogma while “patching” some of the issues of poverty instead of looking for viable solutions to END poverty with the millions and millions of dollars received from their unsuspecting donors.
Gonzolez has now moved to Calcutta himself and started a charity of his own, Responsible Charity:
Mother Teresa herself has repeatedly admitted that she was not a social worker, and her followers continue to assert the same. So under what motives do they tend to the poor you may ask? The mantra of the operation rests solely on the belief that suffering and poverty are ways of loving god, something that when explained to even people of faith makes no sense at all! In short, they are there to move people to their deaths rather than actually looking for ways to fix the problem that is poverty.
Ignoring the suffering instead focusing on spiritual well being
A heartbreaking testimonial by Sally Warner, a nurse with 13 years of experience working in M.C. homes, states:
I have spent most of my time in the children’s homes, there were some I could not deal with, some of the ladies homes, and others where patients were just sitting around and doing nothing, often in cement floors and lying in their own excrements, people drugged wrongly by the nuns… anyone could just walk in and immediately see an average of 50 men and 50 women laying in cots and basically rotting away.
Sister Mary Prema, the current Superior General/CEO of Missionaries of Charity, says:
“… I am convinced that God allows suffering because it can transform us into better and more profound people. Thus, we are able to understand that this world and this life are not the ultimate goal, but that there is something more: the life of the soul which – if one really accepts suffering – is purified.”
child in Missionaries of Charity Calcutta home photographed in May 2000
But how can this baby appreciate this in where she was being fed substitute milk “Monidyne” causing her to suffer marasmus? This is when as there is insufficient nutrition the body starts to eat itself- after the external muscles are depleted to provide fuel for the internal organs (and this child was probably at this stage); then the body starts breaking down the internal muscles of the organs – heart and brain and more.
Due to lack of interest and education the nuns did not follow the correct protocol to avoid this – by weighing the child and feeding appropriate corresponding amounts of protein and other items to save her life.
But the Superior Prema (Agenzia Fides 23/08/2010) said “:Everyone knows that she is a saint – both Hindus and Christians here in Calcutta and in most places where we are present – this is beyond doubt. Everyone expects a miracle…but Mother Teresa was that miracle for the world and humanity.”
But I witnessed 20 babies in her homes die unnecessarily…. her ‘miracle’ didn’t save them- only good nutrition, attention and real love would have.
The nun’s focus is on the spiritual well being, not the physical anguish. Indeed, they feel it is noble to suffer. From the article in Stern:
For a sustainable charitable system, it would have been sensible to train the nuns to become nurses, teachers or managers. But a Missionary of Charity nun is never trained for anything further.
While the Missionaries of Charity have already withheld help from the starving in Ethiopia or the orphans in India — despite having received donations in their names — there are others who are being actively harmed by the organization’s ideology of disorganization.
In 1994, Robin Fox, editor of the prestigious medical journal Lancet, in a commentary on the catastrophic conditions prevailing in Mother Teresa’s homes, shocked the professional world by saying that any systematic operation was foreign to the running of the homes in India: TB patients were not isolated, and syringes were washed in lukewarm water before being used again.
Even patients in unbearable pain were refused strong painkillers, not because the order did not have them, but on principle.
“The most beautiful gift for a person is that he can participate in the suffering of Christ,” said Mother Teresa. Once she had tried to comfort a screaming sufferer, “You are suffering, that means Jesus is kissing you.” The sufferer screamed back, furious, “Then tell your Jesus to stop kissing me.”
Mother Teresa was more concerned with the Catholic dogma against abortion than with the suffering of people who were already born:
Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. (From her Nobel acceptance speech.)
Christopher Hitchens criticized her Nobel speech (which reads more like a religious rant) and asserts that she was no friend to the poor:
She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit.
So much could be done with all the volunteer help and infrastructure already in place. Needless suffering and death could be prevented in many cases, were donations used to educate volunteers and indigenous women. Sterile equipment, proper infant formula, and heaven forbid- birth control- would do far more for these people than merely praying for them while they wait for death.
With no audits, no explanations, and no accountability the Missionaries of Charity must be using the money in mysterious ways.
Is all the donor money being absorbed into the great maw of the Vatican? Is it being used to spread the dogma of Catholicism, while allowing the weak and helpless to suffer? The poor and sick make excellent photographic subjects to stir the compassion and get donations- which are then not used to help them.
A message from Hemley Gonzolez:
This is why I left real estate, why I decided to change my life, and put my money where my mouth is when I began to criticize the medical negligence and financial fraud I witnessed during the two months I volunteered in one of Mother Teresa’s houses in India, and why I am now living here in Calcutta. Every donation we have received for Responsible Charity, from $1 (yes one dollar) to $1,000 (yes one thousand) is being put to GREAT use to change the lives of families living in the slums of Calcutta, I hope you’ll join the facebook page so you can see our work and also consider becoming a monthly donor.
In contrast to the black hole the M.C. donations are swallowed by, Gonzolez’ charity even photographs and publishes the receipts of items purchased to help the poor. Anyone can see for themselves where their money is going.
Hemley Gonzoles comforts a man in Calcutta
Read Nurse Sally Warner’s blog exposing widespread medical negligence
Read Christopher Hitchens’ article in Slate magazine
Join Hemley Gonzolez fight to STOP the Missionaries of Charity
Donate to Responsible Charity, an organization of action with fiscal transparency
Donate to Gimme Shelter NOW a secular charity working in Calcutta focused on the health issues of children and families
Sign the petition demanding the Missionaries of Charity account for donations
Is there anything good anymore? It's Trump's America, and people are dying, yet he doesn't care. Desperation is setting in.