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Posted February 22, 2007

Book: Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?
Author: Gezim Alpion
Routledge. England. 2007. Pp. 284

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Gezim Alpion explores the significance of Mother Teresa to the mass media, to celebrity culture, to the church and to various political and national groups. Drawing on new research into Mother Teresa’s early years, he charts the rise to fame of this pioneering religious personality, investigating the celebrity discourse in which an exemplary nun was turned into a media and humanitarian icon. The book provides an in-depth cultural and critical analysis of Mother Teresa, and of the way she and others created, promoted and censored her public image, in the context of the sociology of fame, media, religion and nationality. A fascinating section explores the ways different vested interests have sought to appropriate her after her death, and also examines Mother Teresa’s own attitude to her childhood and to the Balkan conflicts in the 1980s and 1990s.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Mother Teresa the global celebrity was the daughter of a local celebrity. According to accounts provided by several people who knew her father Nikolle Bojaxhiu well, it is obvious that he was an exceptionally charismatic figure: a successful businessman who owned a construction as well as a wholesale food company, the only Catholic member of the Skopje City Council, a philanthropist, a patriot, a polygot (in addition to his native Albanian, he spoke Serbo-Croat, Turkish, Italian and Frence), a natural story-teller, an artist, a patron of the arts, an enthusiastic traveler, and, above all, a devoted husband and a doting father. He was adored by his family, relatives, friends, employees and the local clergy. He was venerated by the rich and the poor, Albanians and other ethnic groups, fellow Catholics and followers of other faiths.

Table of Contents:

1. Mother Teresa and celebrity culture

2. The Balkans appropriation of Mother Teresa

3. The forgotten years

4. Mother Teresa’s attitude towards her early years

5. Jesus the divine superstar

6. From church rebel to church asset