Mother Teresa: Blessings and lessons

Some people come into your life as blessings. Some come into your life as lessons.

Attr. Mother St. Teresa; I’ve seen a version with “in” in place of “into,” but it’s the same idea either way.

The saying doesn’t pass the sounds-right test to me, but I went looking because I’ve been fooled on Mother Teresa quotations before.

Here’s what I found:

  • It’s not in Wikiquote at all, either on the verified quotations page or on the discussion page for dubious “quotations.” This is significant because it suggests that the association of the saying with her is fairly recent.
  • It’s not on the rather cumbersomely-entitled “Quotes falsely attributed to Mother Teresa and significantly paraphrased versions or personal interpretations of statements that are not her authentic words” web page. This suggests that it’s either authentic or that it got associated with her after 2010, when that page was last updated.
  • Googling the quotation with her name turns up only the usual suspect and reference-free sites, along with a smattering of blogs etc., also providing no references.
  • Googling without her name … would you believe it’s on Zig Ziglar’s Facebook page? It’s in lots of other places, too, never with an attribution. The earliest I can find it on a website that gives a date is around 2012. (Mr. Ziglar’s post is from 2014.)
  • Trying Google Books: The only places it shows up connected with St. Mother T are books that are just the contents of Internet “quotation” sites shoveled into a book. It doesn’t show up at all, attributed or not, before 2012.

Put it all together, and there are two possible conclusions:

(a) Mother Teresa actually said it, but it got detached from her name for 15 years and then somehow reattached; or
(b) She didn’t say it.

I’m going with (b).

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