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An Unquenchable Thirst: A Memoirby Mary Johnson
Synopses & Reviews
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS
“A candid, generous, and profound spiritual memoir that deserves a great deal of thoughtful discussion.”—Anne Rice
At seventeen, Mary Johnson experienced her calling when she saw a photo of Mother Teresa on the cover of Time magazine; eighteen months later she began her training as a Missionary of Charity, a nun in Mother Teresa’s order. Not without difficulty, this boisterous, independent-minded teenager eventually adapted to the sisters’ austere life of poverty and devotion, but beneath the white-and-blue sari beat the heart of an ordinary young woman who faced daily the simple and profound struggles we all share, the same desires for love and connection. Eventually, after twenty years of service, Johnson left the church to find her own path, but her magnificently told story holds universal truths about the mysteries of faith and how a woman discovers herself.
Includes new material: Two reading group guides—for groups that wish to take different approaches to the book; a conversation between Mary Johnson and Mira Bartók, author of The Memory Palace; and Mary Johnson’s recommended reading list
“A wonderful achievement . . . Johnson opens the window on a horizon of spiritual questions [and] takes an unflinching look inside her own heart.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“An incredible coming-of-age story . . . [It] has everything a memoir needs: an inside look at a way of life that most of us will never see, a physical and emotional journey, and suspense.”—Slate
“Reads like a novel . . . an exacting account of a woman growing into her own soul.”—More magazine
“Engaging, heartfelt and entertaining . . . [Johnson] articulates her struggles with her God in words that will hit home.”—Los Angeles Times
“An inspiration that transcends any particular religious belief . . . An Unquenchable Thirst is a journey that captivates, but its resonance lies in the life examined.”—The Denver Post
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
For readers of Karen Armstrong and Kathleen Norris comes a powerful, unforgettable spiritual autobiography.
An Unquenchable Thirst is the story of Mary Johnson's twenty years as a Missionary of Charity — working alongside Mother Teresa in service to the world's poor — and a fascinating depiction of the daily struggle to live a life of religious service. At 17, Johnson experienced her calling when she saw a photo of Mother Teresa on the cover of Time. Eighteen months later she found herself in religious training in a South Bronx convent. This boisterous, independent-minded teenager adapted, eventually, to the austere life of poverty and devotion, but faced daily the struggles of any young woman — the same desires for love and connection and meaning and identity. After 20 years, Johnson left the order and has since left the church, but the story of this complicated, extraordinary woman will speak to atheists and true believers alike.
From the Hardcover edition.
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