The publication of Mother Teresa’s letters, concerning her personal crisis of faith, can be seen either as an act of considerable honesty or of extraordinary cynicism (or perhaps both of the above).

The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God.

In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the “dryness”, “darkness”, “loneliness” and “torture” she is undergoing

Tell me, Father, why is there so much pain and darkness in my soul?
(To the rev. Lawrence Picachy, August 1959)

* Summarized of TIME, September 3. 2007