A Confidence Betrayed

Sojourners has inadvertently contributed to the betrayal of Mother Teresa (“The Paradoxes of Mother Teresa,” by Dean Nelson, September-October 2017). In letters to her spiritual advisers in the church, Mother Teresa revealed a dramatic and troubling turn in her relationship with God. When she became famous, she repeatedly asserted that she did not want the contents of those letters made public, even after her death. Those in positions of trust betrayed her confidence by publishing a book based on her letters. The letters revealed that, despite her doubts, she remained committed to God’s work. While this may be inspiring to others, as her betrayers had hoped, that does not justify violating her confidence. It was not their decision to make. Let us respectfully leave it alone.

Arden Mahlberg
Madison, Wisconsin

Elevating Conversation

Kathy Khang’s column (“Distress Signal”) in the August 2017 issue resonated with me. Since the 2016 election, I have been wearing my small American flag lapel pin upside down. I am 88 and living in a senior community, so there are lots of elevator encounters. Those who notice my quiet protest react in one of two ways: Kindred spirits smile and give me a thumbs-up, while others point out that my flag is upside-down (and may even try to change it). This provides a chance to explain, with a smile, the intent and meaning of my pin—a tiny educational opportunity. Your article spoke to my present condition. Thank you.

Priscilla Gifford
Boulder, Colorado

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