Saint of the gutters

Remembering Mother Teresa, born 100 years ago today

On Aug. 26, 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojakhiu was born of Albanian parents in the town of Skopje, Macedonia.

“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus,” is how she would describe herself. Continue reading

The patriotic Old Chief

- in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan -
Monday was the death anniversary of John George Diefenbaker, and prairie patriotism suggested a visit to his grave on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. After his 1979 death in Ottawa, Diefenbaker was brought back to his native province–his last railway tour — and buried at what would become the Diefenbaker Centre. Supposedly modeled on the Truman Library in Missouri, the centre commemorates Canada’s 13th prime minister with a few uninspired rooms in a soulless building. Continue reading

Bringing down a giant

The worst moment of the late Ted Stevens’ long political career was the most important.

Senator Stevens died in a plane crash on Monday, having spent forty years in the United States Senate. He devoted himself to bringing home the bacon to Alaska, and by all accounts his pork-barrelling was prodigiously successful. Americans regarded the geriatric senator — decades in office, gaming the system for ever more extravagant dollops of federal largesse, then proudly cutting the ribbons on projects named in his honour — as something of a noble figure. They resolutely re-elect such men for tenures that make most crowned heads seem transient. Continue reading

Package Deal

Anne Rice is no longer a Christian. Or perhaps she is. “Today I quit being a Christian,” she wrote last week. “I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”

About a dozen years ago, the mega-selling author of vampire novels announced that she was returning to the Catholic faith of her upbringing — a faith she had emphatically rejected as a teenager. Subsequently, she abandoned her horror stories and wrote two well-received books about the life of Jesus, while engaging in gracious conversation with the many people, Christian and otherwise, who took note of her conversion. Continue reading