Sturdy Roots

Woman of the Word
Mother Theresa and the Use of Scripture in Her Letters

Scripture in Letters

The following series of quotations from the letters of Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger exemplify her roots in the Word of God. This was unusual for a German woman living in the 1800s since members of the Catholic Church were not encouraged to read the Bible.

One letter, #714, includes more than 53 different references to scripture. Most would have learned Scripture from bible history or listening to the readings of the day as expressed through the lectionary. During the celebration of the Eucharist, her generation would have listened to the Epistle and Gospel read in Latin from a lectionary unchanged since the Council of Trent. (1545) The synoptic gospels would have been repeated, with particular texts used very often. This standard procedure resulted in her hearing a few selected texts over and over again.

The lectionary we know today is the result of Vatican II, 1965. It was still common in the 1950's to hear only bible history, stories paraphrased from the bible, and be discouraged from reading the bible on one's own for fear of misinterpretation.

Mother Theresa's use of scripture in what follows may be both informative and inspiring to see how widely was her acquaintance with scripture, as well as how she shared the Word of God with others through her correspondence.

The links below will take you to pages that are divided by the books of the Bible. Within the pages are citations from Mother Theresa's letters.

Woman of the Word
Biography of Mother Theresa
Create A Retreat
Scripture in Letters
Scripturre in Fr Job Letters
Later SSND Documents
Reflections on Translations

Audio of obtaining letters
Text of obtaining letters




1 Samuel 1 Kings Tobit
Esther Job Psalms
Proverbs Song of Songs Isaiah
Jonah Daniel Malachi
Matt.- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Mark Luke - 1, 2, 3
John - 1, 2, 3 Acts Romans
1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians
Ephesians Philippians Colossians
2 Timothy Hebrews 1 John

© Judith Best, SSND - 2010 - School Sisters of Notre Dame
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