The article focuses on the emergence of Mother Teresa as a religious visionary and the hostile treatment she received at the Loreto order in the late 1940s. Mother Teresa’s early career as an ‘independent’ nun is a useful case study to look afresh at some traditional views on the revolutionary nature of charisma, the initial reception of the ‘natural’ and charismatic leader, mainly the ‘deviant type’, and the ‘proofs’ expected from and provided by the ‘bearer of charisma’ in modernity. This article contends that approaching Mother Teresa’s charism/a from a sociological and public theology perspective reveals both the potential and the need for interdisciplinary research to explore the publicness of religion and engage further the academy with the life, work and legacy of this twentieth century religious leader.

In: International Journal of Public Theology