ASSIST News Service (ANS) covers POLSIS academic's lecture in Melbourne

Mother Teresa – the Enduring Charismatic Appeal of ‘a Nun in Chains’

By Michael Ireland

Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BIRMINGHAM, UK (ANS) – In spite of the outstanding success of the Missionaries of Charity she set up in 1950, and the attention she and her supporters paid to a series of fortunate coincidences in her life, Mother Teresa did not see herself as a ‘miracle performer.’

“By the time the cause for her beatification was set in motion, however, her order had already secured her alleged first posthumous miracle, thus ensuring that the most important criteria for her beatification was met five years before she was declared Blessed in 2003,” says Dr Gëzim Alpion, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Birmingham, UK.

Now, in Association with the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Dr Alpion, will deliver the lecture "Mother Teresa – the enduring charismatic appeal of a nun in chains" at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, on Monday, November 21, at 11.00-12.20pm, in Room B- LT 5 (B.3.07).

In this lecture Dr Alpion explores why the Roman Catholic Church continues to pay attention to miracles in spite of the fact that at the start of John Paul II’s pontificate the requirements about miracles were being relaxed.

Alpion argues that Mother Teresa’s followers were eager to secure her first miracle as soon as possible partly because they wanted her beatification and hopefully canonization to be completed while John Paul II, her greatest admirer, was still alive, and equally important before her spiritual darkness became public.

Alpion concludes that little did Mother Teresa know that the ‘social work’ aspect of her apostolate, a phrase which she bitterly resented, would in death be perhaps the best advocate of her enduring charismatic appeal.

Dr Gëzim Alpion is Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. Alpion is a leading expert on Mother Teresa.

Initially published by Routledge in London, New York and New Delhi, his controversial study ‘Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?’ (2007 & 2008) was released in Italian by Salerno Editrice in Rome in 2008.

Alpion’s other publications include two collections of essays ‘Foreigner Complex’ (2002) and ‘Encounters with Civilizations: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa’ (2011).

In his politically-incorrect plays ‘Vouchers’ (2001) and ‘If Only the Dead Could Listen’ (2008), which have been successfully performed across the United Kingdom, Alpion addresses the topical issue of the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in the West.

Alpion’s much anticipated new book ‘Can Humans Know God? Mother Teresa Conundrum’ will be published in 2013.