Most people likely know of Mother Teresa’s great faithfulness to God’s call as she started her ministry to the poor in Calcutta. But at the time, few knew that she had lost all sense of God's presence, love, and sometimes the assurance that God existed at all. Astonishingly, for 50 years, the saint's life was spent in what she called "the darkness." Yet, somehow Mother Teresa managed to get up every morning and say yes to God. And not only did she say yes, she came to accept the darkness, while also allowing a sense of humor and even playfulness to shine through. This book is a memoir of the author’s direct experiences with Mother Teresa during a trip to Calcutta in 1996 when she discovered that sense of humor first hand. It is also an extended reflection on the beloved saint’s “dark night of the soul” and what that might mean for spiritual seekers today.
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Part coming-of-age story, part travelogue and part meditation, She Made Me Laugh is a highly engaging book about what it means to answer God’s call in a world crying out for justice and consolation. Through evocative and often humorous prose, Emmons provides readers with a vivid account of her personal journey to answer this question. With her we travel to India, meet Mother Teresa, see abject suffering and laughter-filled joy. We become friends with her winsome traveling companion Miriam, taste pineapple picked straight from the plant, and feel the harrowing impact of seeing the slack body of an impoverished newborn. As readers, we become witnesses to lost innocence and the transformative power of compassion. By the book’s end we too ask: where is God leading me?
St. Teresa of Avila had a famously hilarious quote that has stuck with me down through the years: ‘God save us from gloomy saints!’ In She Made Me Laugh, Emmons gives us that deep look into the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta from her own personal encounters with the great saint, and shows us that while she was a deeply pious and holy woman who devoted herself entirely to Christ, she also made herself real and accessible. Reading about how she made those around her laugh brought me closer to this holy hero and will undoubtedly do the same for you!
She Made Me Laugh is a very human exploration of angst and trepidation and the joy that is found in the midst of poverty. It immerses you in the sights and sounds of India – a place where spiritual transformation happens daily in unexpected places.
Armed with her travel journal from the 1990s, Emmons celebrates her exuberant younger self and her joy-seeking heart in this gentle coming of age story. She does this in the knowledge that the fabled humanitarian she met then was really someone else. This most celebrated saint was subject to painful doubt and darkness, as we learned after her death. Emmons poignantly reminds us that, then and now, responding to and holding on to the call of faith, is the most important coming of age story any of us will ever tell.
A beautiful, and very honest journal of a life changing trip to India and encounter with Mother Teresa of Calcutta by a young adult from Canada. Looking back twenty-five years later, Stephanie Emmons recounts the very human and frequently humorous details of that trip but also the profound questions and issues which it raised for her own faith and life. Her deep spiritual and human reflections, especially in the the second half of her book, are both a personal testimony and inspiration for all Christians who are seeking to faithfully follow Jesus as Mother Teresa so powerfully and yet so humanly exemplified.
Stephanie Emmons is a Catholic author whose devotion to Mother Teresa led her to India in 1996. There, she volunteered with the poor and prayed with the saint herself. She is mom to Lois and Catherine, but she’s also been a street outreach worker, a wedding singer, a student of theology, a mental health peer supporter, a spiritual director and a naively fearless traveler. She does her best writing between appointments, at busy coffee houses and at home under the watchful eye of Daisy, the family’s rescue dog from Antigua. Stephanie has a soft spot for the women mystics whose lives were marked by suffering yet somehow kept the faith and show the rest of us the variety of paths to sainthood. You can connect with Stephanie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stephanie.emmons.9047 or on twitter @Emmons_Steph. You can also visit her website, www.stephanie-emmons.com, to sign up for emails about upcoming projects, speaking engagements and chances to win her books.