Spiegel & Grau, September 2011
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.
Hardcover | ISBN: 9780385527477 | Publication Date: September 2011
"Readers . . . will find themselves transported into another world
by this powerful, revealing memoir. An aspirant to the
Missionaries of Charity at age nineteen, the author spent twenty
years living a life both extraordinarily simple and
heart-wrenchingly complex. Johnson skillfully demonstrates this
juxtaposition through her writing -- mundane events, such as
gathering eggs or learning to play the piano, often have tragic or
[Johnson's] memoir is exceptional."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Johnson brings readers close to her story, showing her triumphs
and temptations, limning characters as compelling as those in any
novel . . . Her mesmerizing account of trying to orbit the sun
that was Mother Teresa vividly captures a life in turmoil."
"Eloquent and moving . . . an extraordinary testament to the
enduring power of love -- beyond faith and dogma. It reminds us of
why we are here: to love and live fully, to be curious about all
things, and to live a compassionate -- and passionate -- authentic
-- Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Place
"A heartfelt, personal story of the gradual awakening of a
person who comes to see that preferring the human to the perfect
does not alienate her from authentic spirituality
but allows her to live more fully."
-- Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk
"Opening up the soul's deep core on the page is always an act of
bravery. Mary Johnson is bravery writ large. She writes expertly
about the myths and misperceptions of women's religious vocations
and the sacred validity of human intimacy."
-- Breena Clarke, author of Stand the Storm