Challenges to Mother Teresa scholarship before and after canonization

 Matters India

Mother Teresa canonization
The event is hosted by the Centre for European Policy Studies and Local Development in collaboration with the Academy of Sciences of Albania, the Apostolic Nuncio to Albania, and the National Experimental Theatre.
Birmingham (UK) – A leading Mother Teresa scholar of the English speaking world is scheduled to give a public lecture entitled “Challenges to Mother Teresa scholarship before and after canonization” at the Concert Hall of the University of Arts in Tirana, Albania on May 26.
The first of a series of lectures on Mother Teresa by Prof. (Dr.) Gëzim Alpion of Sociology Department in Birmingham University UK is expected to be attended by some of the country’s leading politicians and diplomats posted in Tirana.
Dr Alpion is considered by critics “the most authoritative English-language author” on Mother Teresa the Albanian-born missionary who made her home in Calcutta.
Speaking to Matters India Prof Alpion says, “A number of people will be travelling to Albania for this event from neighbouring Kosovo and Macedonia.”
During his visit to Tirana, Dr Alpion will have meetings with a number of politicians to discuss the progress of the international highway, known as the Arbëri Road, for which he has been campaigning tirelessly since 2013. He will exchange views on Albania’s preparations to celebrate Mother Teresa’s forthcoming canonization.”
Dr Alpion will be received also by the Leader of the Opposition Lulzim Basha a prominent Albanian politician who was Mayor of Tirana, the capital of Albania, from 2011 to 2015.
The lecture will be followed by a Question & Answer session with contributions by leading scholars and religious personalities.
At the end of the programme, actors from the National Experimental Theatre will interpret a selection of Mother Teresa’s poems and prayers.
Giving an abstract of the Tirana lecture Prof Alpion says, “Concentrating mainly on my publications and work in progress, in this three-part lecture I will offer a sociological perspective of some of the achievements and challenges of and hurdles ahead in Mother Teresa scholarship.”
In the first part, Alpion explains, “why I took an interest in Albanian born Mother Teresa 30 years ago in Cairo in 1986.”
He also covers the context in which the nun became a key area of his research from 2003 saying, “The second part focuses on the ‘two camps’ and ‘three gazes’ apparent in Mother Teresa literature as lingering manifestations of the medieval conflict between ‘faith’ and ‘reason.’”
Alpion contends that the conflict, which may never be fully resolved, resulted in the rigidity of academic boundaries and the hierarchy of knowledge.
The final part of the lecture highlights the role of multi-disciplinarity and of the ‘sociological imagination’ in shedding new light into key aspects of Mother Teresa’s complex personality, faith and activity that have been ignored or approached in a biased way: lack of interest in her Skopje years, reasons for leaving the Loreto order, uniqueness of her spiritual darkness, and nature of her enduring charisma.
Alpion concludes that “Mother Teresa’s canonization should not drive us away from her as a human being. After all, it is by studying her both as a private woman and a public nun that we understand better this saint’s ‘love in action’ and the role of religion in ‘secular’ post modernity.”

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