Review: An Unquenchable Thirst – Mary Johnson

Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (September 13, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385527470
ISBN-13: 978-0385527477
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Mary Johnson documents her 20 years of service with Mother Theresa as Sister Donata in the Mission of Charity.


This book gives the reader a very intimate look at life within the walls of the Mission of Charity. We get to see through the eyes of Mary Johnson and later as Sister Donata the life of a Nun and what it entails, at least in this instance of being a bride of Christ.

Sometimes her life was rewarding as when she was serving the poor, other times I found it quite disturbing. The order was allowed no connections to people, no friendships, no touching, no outside interests, no discussing your previous life.

There was also the requirement of self flagellation (beating oneself) that I found quite disturbing. While I understood why they felt it was necessary, it’s still hard to grasp the concept of why a human being would want to be a part of a group that required that.

Some of the more conservative readers may find it disturbing when Sister Donata is awakening to her sexuality, particularly when this awakening occurs mostly with other sisters in the order.

It’s a book I definitely recommend, it’s an interesting memoir, and a look at a subject we don’t get to see much.

About the Author

As a teenager, Mary Johnson thought she was on her way to a career as a thinker and communicator, when she spotted Mother Teresa’s eyes on the cover of Time Magazine. After reading her story, Mary felt God calling her. For twenty years, as Sister Donata, Mary Johnson was a Missionary of Charity, a nun in Mother Teresa’s order, until she left in 1997. Mother Teresa professed that she had “promised to give Saints to Mother Church”, but a life pursuing humility, poverty, love and obedience wasn’t easy. Mary Johnson’s book, “An Unquenchable Thirst”, is the memoir of her life as a Missionary of Charity, and a story of her search for love, service, and an authentic life. Today Mary is a respected teacher and public speaker. She has been named a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony and is on the board of the A Room of Her Own Foundation. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband. For more information, please visit:

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to LeYane at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.