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Jim Towey was a trusted advisor and personal friend of Mother Teresa of Calcutta for twelve years, and did the first reading at her Mass of Canonization in Saint Peter’s Square. He headed the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under George W. Bush, and was president of two Catholic colleges, a US Senate staffer, and head of Florida’s 40,000-employee health and human services agency. In 1996, with Mother Teresa’s encouragement, he founded the nonprofit advocacy organization Aging with Dignity and created the Five Wishes advance directive, which has sold 40 million copies and is used in all fifty states. Towey met his wife, Mary, in Mother Teresa’s Washington, DC, AIDS home. He continues to provide pro bono legal services for the Missionaries of Charity.
From a trusted advisor and devoted friend of Mother Teresa comes an extraordinary firsthand account of the miraculous woman behind the saint.
Mother Teresa was one of the most admired women of the 20th century, and her memory continues to inspire charitable work around the world. She believed the greatest need of a human being is to love and be loved. In 1948, she founded the Missionaries of Charity to work directly with the very poorest of Calcutta. From the efforts of one woman entering the slums of Entally, the Missionaries of Charity grew into an organization operating soup kitchens, health clinics, hospices, and shelters in 139 countries, at no cost to any government or to those served. In 2016, she became Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Author Jim Towey had been a high-flying Congressional staffer and lawyer in the 1980s until a brief meeting with Mother Teresa illuminated the emptiness of his life. He began volunteering at one of her soup kitchens and using his legal skills and political connections to help the Missionaries of Charity. When Mother Teresa suggested he take shifts at her AIDS hospice, Towey realized he was all in. Soon, he gave up his job and possessions and became a full-time volunteer for Mother Teresa. He traveled with her frequently, arranged her meetings with politicians, and handled many of her legal affairs.
To Love and Be Loved is a firsthand account of Mother Teresa’s last years, and the first book ever to detail her dealings with worldly matters. We see her gracefully navigate the opportunities and challenges of leadership, the perils of celebrity, and the humiliations and triumphs of aging. We also catch her indulging in chocolate ice cream, making jokes about mini-skirts, and telling the President of the United States he’s wrong. Above all, we see her extraordinary devotion to God and to the very poorest of His children. Mother Teresa taught Towey to be more prayerful, less selfish, more humble, less worldly, more in love with God, and less in love with himself. Her lessons are here for all to share.
“This is a book about a Catholic saint written by a close colleague who believes she gave his life purpose. Yet it’s audience should not be limited to the faithful. It is a moving account of how to find meaning in your life and to love others as you would yourself be loved. Mother Teresa told her followers to give until it hurts and love until it hurts. This gorgeous book has lessons for all of us in how to lead an extraordinary life.”
Executive Editor, on To Love and Be Loved
“Towey portrays Mother Teresa in trademark sandals and sari, and also as a human who experienced loneliness, wrestled with doubts, and loved sweets…This personal portrait is by turns autobiographical, biographical, and devotional. Especially moving are the stories of Mother Teresa’s vivid calling through a vision, her dark night of the soul, and her final decline.”
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