In short, this book is among the worst entries in what I sometimes call “the leadershit” (say “leadership literature” five times fast). Take a remarkable and holy person like Mother. Boil down her thought into eight simple principles. Remove any mention of Jesus (I found one reference in this book), even though her care for the poor was incoherent without Jesus. Tell a few personal anecdotes. Avoid any tangible or nuanced account of how she or her organization actually think about money or hiring or organizational scale or anything other than pithy, inspirational, “Whatever I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” sorts of vignettes. Give the book a catchy marketing title, a glossy cover, blurbs from other leadershit authors, and large enough print and short enough chapters that a superficial reader can consume it on a short commuter flight, and you’re done.

The tragedy, of course, is that no reader will learn more about Mother than she knew before. For her prejudice will be confirmed that religion is only there for a sort of inspirational pick-me-up. The specific differences that Jesus or Buddha or Hinduism or capitalism or Yoga makes don’t matter here any more than they do for your second cup of coffee in the morning… .

For Christian theology, a saint is a mystery. Saints reflect the living God, the most profound mystery of all, whom no human can fathom. They reflect the depths of God’s descent among us in Jesus and the glory of his ascension back to his Father. They can’t be simply explained, replicated, encapsulated, or cloned. We can only give thanks for them and ask God to give us more of them. To devote 114 pages to instilling their essence is little short of insulting.