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6/19/2013 10:54:00 AM
Dedication is common theme of two books on women religious
"As I Have Loved You: A Conversation With Mother Teresa" by John Scally. Liguori Press (Liguori, Mo., 2012) 161 pp., $14.99. "Thank You Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives" by John Feister. Franciscan Media (Cincinnati, 2012) 129 pp., $14.99.
Catholic News Service

At first glance, one might wonder why these two books were paired for review. Clearly, there is the "nun" theme but what really unites the two is the idea of dedication.

Both books reflect lives of faith and a sincere and inspiring desire to help others and serve God.

In "As I Have Loved you: A Conversation With Mother Teresa" John Scully truly offers new insights into the holy and saintly nun from India.

One might think that everyone knows everything about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. However, Scully really had a unique interview with her and shares it.

Scully is an Irish journalist who wrote to Mother Teresa in 1992 and asked for an interview. When Mother Teresa came to Dublin and Knock in 1993 they met and he taped the interview.

Basically, this book highlights her answers with some other information included in each chapter.

The book is clear, well-organized and makes the reader fall in love with Mother Teresa for the first time or all over again.

It is actually quite sweet to read when Scully writes: "I did feel a strong pang of jealousy when I met Mother Teresa. Her God was different than mine. She had stumbled upon a God who dances and astonishes. The love of God had transported her, shattered her, and consumed her like a fire."

Scully is a great writer and it is worth the purchase of a book to read his lovely prose. However, the bulk of the book is the wit and wisdom of Mother Teresa, and that is the reason for the book and the meat of the matter. It is good stuff!!

"Thank You Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives" is edited by John Feister, editor-in-chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine and other periodicals at Franciscan Media.

He incorporates 13 lovely reflections from some talented and well-known people. The likes of Cokie Roberts, Jesuit Father James Martin and Franciscan Father Dan Horan give great testimonies as to how women religious have helped or inspired them.

The book evolved, in part because of the Vatican's doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. This book, though, is not a refutation, justification or argument.

Rather it is mostly a book of praise and gratitude. It also is an introduction to the great works of women religious for younger Catholics. The traveling show that highlighted 300 years of women religious in America gave a great overview of religious life in America. This book is a more modern snapshot of the nuns who shaped many in the world today.

Feister writes: "Younger Catholics today have far less chance of having ever met, been educated by or worked with a Catholic sister than did their parents. Sisters simply are more likely to work and live in the background today. So I thought, why not tell some positive stories of the profound influence these women had on the people's lives?'"

He said that nuns probably would not brag so he let the authors in this book do it for them. It is a good mix of voices and stories. Perhaps the most touching is the tale of the nun who gave sandwiches to those who forgot their lunch at a Catholic grammar school. It seems to show the church at its kindest and best.

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