An Unquenchable Thirst: Following Mother Teresa in Search of Love, Service, and an Authentic Life
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.
“All people hunger for love, whether they are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or atheist.” –Mother Theresa of Calcutta
An Unquenchable Thirst is a heartfelt, courageous, and beautiful memoir that shares the life of Mary Johnson (previously Sister Donata) and her work as a Missionary of Charity under Mother Theresa. At age nineteen Mary found her calling to help the poor and began her twenty-year journey as a nun, not knowing her path would lead her to confusion, heartache, and leave her questioning her sacred vows of chastity, obedience, and service. With rules that prohibit any relationship other than a personal relationship with God, Sister Donata found herself grappling with loneliness, the need for love, and guilt, as she consistently fell short of becoming the Saint that Mother Theresa embodied and expected from the Sisters. Instead of experiencing inner peace and the joy of giving, Sister Donata felt disempowered, disheartened, and stripped of her authentic self in the traditional and often political community of the convent, feelings that ultimately led to her exit in 1997.
Mary Johnson’s eloquent words coupled with her raw emotions create an exceptional autobiography that reads like fiction and offers readers a personal view of Mother Theresa. Through her stories, struggles, and triumphs Mary shares the search for her personal truth in one of the most heartfelt books I have ever read, and one I will never forget. An Unquenchable Thirst is a poignant reminder to listen to our hearts and embrace our personal truths, and as we give to others in service and love, to never forget the importance of connection and self-love.