An enhanced feminist theological engagement with the mariology of Mother Teresa and the MC Sisters
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This thesis serves to provide an enhanced feminist engagement with the Mariology of Mother Teresa and the MC (Missionaries of Charity) Sisters that is required to critique and appreciate their iteration of Catholic Marian spirituality. Utilising a constructive methodology grounded in a review of feminist negotiations with traditional Catholic Mariology, this project explores the outworkings of MC Mariology in its capacity for harm and human flourishing. It begins by accounting for the personal and historical context which informed the cultivation of Mother Teresa’s Mariology. The Mariology of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity is then situated within the broader Catholic tradition, noting its particular characteristics and accounting for the meaning it holds for the MCs according to their Constitutions. A subsequent review of feminist negotiations with traditional Catholic Mariology provides the foundation for discussing the relationship between their interpretation of Marian identity, the life of their community, and those they serve. The concluding chapters provide an enhanced feminist negotiation with the Mariology of Mother Teresa and the MCs through deconstruction, retrieval and offering potential opportunities for renewal. Mother Teresa is revealed to have viewed Mary as having suffered in silence, calling upon other women to do the same, resulting in abusive practices. However, her conception of spiritual motherhood is cited as inspiring life-saving actions, modelling a strength in vulnerability thematic of feminist theologies. Her openness to religious diversity is also cited as reflective of feminist scholars’ explorations of Mary as one who bridges different faith traditions. It is further noted that Mother Teresa and the MCs emphasis on relationship to Mary as a person who hears their prayers and intercedes on their behalf may speak to the emphasis of Catholic women’s devotion to Mary more broadly. The implication is that MC Mariology, in all its particularity, reflects the ambivalence of Catholicism’s relationship to women and marginalised groups more generally. The result is a call to accountability and repentance in the same vein as other religious orders guilty of abuse, along with a call to a renewed vision of Marian identity congruent with their charism.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2026-05-11
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 11th May 2026
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