Responsible Charity: Current Status


Finances

  • Our current balance $33,776.00
  • Administrative cost $10,933.31
  • Funds used as of today $68,179.00

Find images of receipts by following the link to Transparency (3).

On-going Projects

This is what your donations can bring to the lives of the vulnerable.

Advertisements

An Unquenchable Thirst: A journey of hope, sadness and redemption for one of Mother Teresa’s former nuns.


Review by: Hemley Gonzalez, Founder of STOP The Missionaries of Charity.

The author with Mother and Monsignor Sidney Marceaux meeting briefly with her family.

The author with Mother and Monsignor Sidney Marceaux meeting briefly with her family.

 

Reviewing this book proceeded from a lively and insightful conversation with the author. Since my horrific experience as a volunteer a few years ago with The Missionaries of Charity, my investigation of Mother Teresa’s medically negligent and financially fraudulent organization has led me to discover many deeply disturbing accounts and experiences from different volunteers, nurses, journalists and now former nuns like Mary Johnson.

In her lengthy tome, Johnson shows us in detail what it was like to be a ‘sister’ for twenty years with the world-famous catholic order, chronicling the searing hopes of a young woman in search of god who instead is met with sobering and often cruel repression, unnecessary suffering and a constant and immense spiritual conflict laced with specific accounts of guilt-ridden sexual episodes despite her vows of celibacy.

Although Johnson never made it to Calcutta, she did however spend enough time with high ranking nuns of the order and Mother Teresa herself to properly asses the moral compass, primary mission and mishaps of the organization as a whole. Being shuffled between nunneries and houses in Brooklyn, Washington DC and Rome, aside from medial tasks with the poor in some of these locations, her work remained primarily planted in the theological teachings and logistical aspect of the operation.

The first sign of trouble emerges when she is scolded by one of the senior nuns just days after starting her vocation for not using a bucket (while taking a freezing-cold shower) but instead for standing under the shower head. The older nun hissed at her words like ‘selfish, disobedient, wasteful and immodest’ for not suffering enough, a cornerstone and a troubling aspect of the organization which dwells on punishment and penance as a way to get closer to god. Suffering from this point on prevails and the irrational repression and illogical abuses only continue to escalate as power struggles and the expected absolute obedience turns into conflict with the author’s common sense and emotional stability.

Astonishingly, Johnson manages to find patches of personal peace by learning to avoid some of the oppressing nuns and by trying to convince herself as she was systematically told by her superiors and Mother Teresa that one day all of these doubts and suffering would bring her closer to Jesus.

Becoming further entrenched in the organization over the years, she was sent to Rome where she began to oversee new nuns who were joining the order from all over the world and eventually also saw them leave to other places where she herself desired to go to the most. Disappointingly, she was always skipped for these remote missions because she had become a useful and encouraging superior herself and these are important attributes which the organization needs in order to keep nuns who have difficulty adapting to the dismal rules and abusive behaviour from defecting.

Education of non-ecclesiastical subjects were strictly forbidden as they were an evident threat to the order, at one time prompting Mother Teresa herself to admit that such was one of the reasons for so many nuns leaving the organization. So when even the theological programs which Johnson had been specifically instructed to revise and teach were met with opposition during debates on the issues of birth control and the conception of life (which sharply divided some of the nuns) the prospect of leaving began to emerge. For an intelligent, curious and spiritually seeking woman like Johnson this environment of repression, Machiavellian survivorship and the omnipresent pettiness of gossip simply became impossible to handle.

Naturally, sexual desires and urges were present, and as it is expected she wasn’t the only one suffering from the restrictive vows of chastity and celibacy. A proposed “emotional and spiritual marriage” to Jesus while observing strict celibacy was one of many ironies far too grand to ignore, let alone uphold until her death. Soon she found herself giving in to physical encounters with other nuns and paying the consequences of her mental turmoil through years of confessions with priests, sporadic conversations with her superiors and the negative effects of the emptiness which occupied her heart. At one point, she even became the target of another nun’s unwanted sexual advances, although she had reciprocated this individual’s advances at first, when she decided to end the relationship the other woman turned aggressive and abusive. Later on she managed to also make love with one of her confessors thus reconciling in her mind that fearing such natural desires was incompatible with reality and the essence of love as she understood it.

The brash and sporadic encounters with Mother Teresa, the manufacturing-like attitude of preparing scores of young women to become nuns and Mother Teresa’s stern and irrational instructions on how to achieve god’s love were unavoidably disconnected from the idyllic image she had of the organization from the time she first learned of it while in high school. In a note which Johnson wrote and at times of emotional hardship often read to herself, readers can feel the pain of a human being losing its individuality and self-confidence:

 “Sister Donata, you are nothing, you have always been nothing, and you will always be nothing. Your desire to be someone special is just pride. And everything you have, including your existence itself, is a gift. You breathe only at the pleasure of the lord. You are privileged to be invited to intimacy with the Maker of the Universe. You will belong to God, and Jesus will be your husband. There is no higher honour.”

As she began to admit to herself that praying to the image of Jesus was spiritually unsatisfying, she had come to view god as a larger and much more complex essence in her mind versus the male character inculcated and rehashed by a male-dominated church for centuries which hypocritically demanded sacrifice from others, specially the women in the church’s lower ranks while many of the leading men in the institution lived a life of luxury with far less restrictions.

After much consideration, she realized that her search for god was incomplete and that god was incompatible with the image of Jesus and neither was present inside The Missionaries of Charity. Once in a hospital while recovering from an operation she had gazed over the rolling hills of Italy’s countryside and remembered feeling an overwhelming and calming sense of peace; this simple awareness of the world around her seemed much more in line with her spiritual quest than anything she had experienced in all her years as a nun.

One feeling that permeates throughout the book is Johnson’s desire for comradeliness. There’s melancholy in her words, and also sadness for the ‘sisters’ which she left behind, the reader can see the love jumping from the pages at times but also it is impossible to ignore the many instances in which the author seems to be drowning in a sea of sadness.

How long can any human being bear such sadness? This was a question which took Johnson exactly twenty years to answer and when she did, she found the light at the end of the tunnel and the personal and spiritual happiness she had been seeking for all along immediately after leaving Mother Teresa’s cult.

About Mary Johnson:

Mary Johnson joined the Missionaries of Charity, the group commonly known as the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, at age 19. For fifteen of Mary Johnson’s twenty years as a sister, she was stationed in Rome and often lived with Mother Teresa for weeks at a time. Johnson also lived and worked as a nun in the South Bronx, Washington DC, and Winnipeg. Mother Teresa sent her to study theology at Regina Mundi, a pontifical institute aggregated to the Gregorian University in Rome, where she received a diploma in religious studies. Johnson was assigned to compose and revise some of the governing documents of the Missionaries of Charity, and for six years was responsible for the formation of sisters preparing to vow their lives as nuns. After leaving the sisters in 1997, Johnson completed a BA in English at Lamar University and an MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College. She also married. A well-respected teacher and public speaker, Johnson has led retreats, workshops, classes, and training sessions of various kinds for nearly thirty years. Most recently she has taught creative writing and Italian to adults and is Creative Director of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s retreats for women writers. For more information please visit: http://www.maryjohnson.co/

About STOP The Missionaries of Charity:

STMOC is an on-going international investigation focused on holding Mother Teresa’s charity accountable for their monumental medical negligence and financial fraud. It began in 2008 after a volunteer who had spent two months working inside one of the homes operated by the organization discovered a series of medically negligent and financially fraudulent incidents which had being taken place for decades ad still continue today. For more information please visit: www.facebook.com/missionariesofcharity  

An Unquenchable Thirst - Mary Johnson (Cover image)

An Unquenchable Thirst – Mary Johnson
We highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about Mother Teresa and The Missionaries of Charity.

Responsible Charity: Our FIRST Secular School


“…tons of stuff going on in the slums, between the dysentery outbreak, organizing new volunteers, preparing for other potential emergencies that can surface during the monsoons and keeping up with the regular reports on FB, I’m out of time! And we convinced the women who run the birth control clinic we work with to come to the slum today and speak with all the young women about prevention options, this could be good.. Anyway, this is where we are in the school process.. you ALL have a hand in it, and for that all of us in Kolkata are eternally grateful :)” Hemley Gonzalez

Dear friends and supporters of Responsible Charity,

We want to begin by sending out a huge virtual hug to the hundreds of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists and yes, even religious and spiritual supporters around the world who made the first round of our school fundraiser a success.

We also want to acknowledge our friends at The Roxbury Foundation, The Foundation Beyond Belief and every single board member of our charity who works tirelessly behind the scene to spread awareness of our work around the world.

Last but not least a very special mention of our appreciation goes out to a courageous 14 year old named Daniel, whose fundraising efforts in March aided by our board member Tracy McPherson helped us achieve the remaining funds needed for our initial goal of $25,000 and most recently to Seth Andrews, the creator of: The Thinking Atheist whose currently ongoing fundraiser has already reached over $9,000 of its $15,000 goal!

All of the achievements above will help in building our first secular school for underprivileged children as well as other projects in the slums of Kolkata, India.

The need for a center is imperative. The location will serve as a preparatory school to coach as many children as we can handle (our aim, depending on space and resources is between 125-200 children regardless of caste or religion from the ages of 4-15 years old). We are looking to establish a special one-year course which will focus on basic alphabets – Bengali/Hindi & English – math, science, classroom etiquette, etc. This curriculum will prepare each child for subsequent placement in well-established schools so that they can continue on to higher education. The space will also serve as storage for supplies and donated items, a quiet and private meeting location for volunteers and the parents of the children who are often in need of help themselves pertaining a wide range of issues such as: medical emergencies, job opportunities and family planning.

The $25,000USD raised so far will provide the foundation for one of two options:

  • A long term lease (2-5 years as it is customary in the city) or
  • Purchase of a small space

Neither option above comes easily or without strings. The caste and class separation system is alive and well and many landlords are instantly reluctant to allow children from the slums to come to their locales, even if the organization meets the financial obligations of the space. It is heartbreaking, frustrating and one of the main reasons holding us back from finding a suitable location. Kolkata is a hotbed of contradictions, bureaucracy, clashing religions and home to a population of more than 14 million people (and growing) it also ranks consistently in the top 10 of largest polluted cities in the world, it has a high unemployment rate and yet, so many of its residents wake up daily with inexplicable and abundant hope and joy, managing to coexists within the boundaries of a slowly dying caste system in the face of a rapidly and advancing society marked by a desire to align itself with many traits of the lifestyles of the West.

Once a space is located a yearly and ongoing operating budget of $40,000 – $45,000USD should meet the needs of a full-fledged center which includes:

  • Qualified teachers
  • Operating staff
  • Books and study copies, uniforms, desks, chairs, storage shelves, partitions, additional furniture, school supplies, etc.
  • Multipurpose  vehicle for transportation of staff, students, medical emergencies
  • Nutritional programs
  • Medical programs
  • Job initiative programs
  • Volunteer programs

In less than two years since we began our work, Responsible Charity has been able to achieve quite a lot with often small donations from around the world. Take a look at some of the highlights:

  • Placed almost two dozen children in private schools while we wait to have our own center.
  • Created a nutritional program which delivers much needed formula every two weeks to a dozen children and toddlers.
  • Created a growing hygienic program which delivers lice treatments, shampoo, soaps, toothpaste and other items to now more than 200 children, men and women.
  • Have begun a birth control and Planned Parenthood program, already 5 young mothers have had procedures and many others are waiting to join.
  • Hired a nurse to visit the slums on a regular basis and address minor to moderate medical issues, directly helping many families who don’t go to government hospitals for fear of being turned away and lack of resources to buy often expensive prescriptions.
  • Built 10+ homes from the ground up.
  • Continue to address issues in the home structures such as leaks and repairs.
  • Have covered a myriad of specific medical emergencies such as a birth, a burned two year old boy’s complete and remarkable recovery, saving a man’s leg from a fractured bone, ongoing full range support for a boy with Thalassemia and more.
  • Began a monthly salary program with a mother to allow her daughter to go to school
  • Created a city-wide clothes donation program which clothes families in need and allows for women to sell the remaining items to earn money for their families.
  • Have received many donations of bags, toys, medical equipment and other items from dozens of tourists who have visited Kolkata and have learned about us and our work.
  • Several outing events for the children including a holiday party which fed 100+ people
  • Ongoing coverage of the cost of most prescriptions, blood, urine and stool tests, X rays, tuberculosis treatment and prescription glasses
  • Stoves and fans for over a dozen homes
  • Direct and on-going collaboration with other secular charities working on the ground: financial aid and supplies provided to them.
  • Initiated several loans to working mothers for self-sufficiency businesses and programs.
  • Digital records now in place for almost 30 families (200+ individuals)

If you haven’t yet, please consider becoming a monthly donor. It doesn’t matter what amount you can commit to, but the consistency of your financial support will allow us to manage our costs and budgets without surprises. You can sign up to make a monthly donation for up to 12 months through our site; it is fast, safe and easy! Here’s the link:

www.responsiblecharity.org/donate

From all of us on the ground in Kolkata and all of our board members from all over the world: THANK YOU once again for your support!

Namaste!

Hemley Gonzalez, Founder

Responsible Charity Corp.

http://www.facebook.com/responsiblecharity

http://www.responsiblecharity.org

Responsible Charity Corp is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit corporation and your donations are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.


Source

Podcast News.


Hi all.

Good news.  I will be recording the interview with Hemley Gonzalez today, and should hopefully have the whole thing recorded, edited and published by this evening!  It’s my first interview on my podcast so it’s all exciting!

I will of course post links when it is ready.