Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. New book delivers an interesting perspective on Mother Teresa.  Msgr. Leo Massburg, her longtime companion and confessor, shares his insights in Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait, available now from Ignatius Press. The 23-chapter work, which includes never-before-published color photos from her life and ministry, focuses on stories from her remarkable life and her impact on the world. Maasburg traveled around the world with Mother Teresa and reports witnessing several miracles along the way. Throughout, he describes a holy woman determined to serve the Lord and the poor. His stories reveal a woman of humor and wisdom whose message of compassion and hope made her one of the most important women of the 20th century.

In the book, Msgr. Maasburg writes about learning of the power of her “Quick Novena” and how her recitation of one prayer nine times – in the moment – was always followed by a 10th recitation in thanksgiving because she believed God listened and answered as quickly as she prayed and asked. He also learned of her strong belief in the Miraculous Medal. Blessed Mother Teresa gave out more than 40,000 of the sacramental medals throughout her life, including one that Msgr. Maasburg carried and left behind in the Kremlin.

Writing in the preface, Msgr. Maasburg describes Blessed Mother Teresa as “an extraordinary, irreplaceable, shining ‘star’— surrounded not by the rich and the beautiful but rather by the poorest of the poor, the deformed, the outcasts of society.”

Mother Teresa died in 1997 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

2. Maria Bellet’s new CD.  The Catholic mother of nine’s new recording (from Elm Street Records) is called  Everything Changes and includes 14 tracks on the role faith plays in the joys, sorrows and challenges of marriage and motherhood.

This is Bellet’s fifth album (following 1997’s What I Wanted to Say, 200o’s Ordinary Time, 2003’s Lighten Up  and 2006’s A New Springtime).

About this one, she says “The songs on this album reflect my experiences of the past five years – sending my first three sons off to college, starting over with a brand new baby boy and discovering that we do not really have that much control over how things turn out…I found that I kept saying to myself, ‘Whenever I think that I know what I am doing, everything changes!’”

“All I have to do is show up with my kids at the grocery store,” she said. “That is where the culture war is fought, surrounded by glossy magazines that promise happiness if you shed pounds and obligations. My songs offer a different vision of what it means to be a fulfilled woman.”

Hear a clip from Everything Changes here.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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