This Friday, March 7, at 7:30pm at the Peterborough Historical Society, there will be a reading and talk with writer Mary Johnson of Nashua, New Hampshire presented by MacDowell Downtown.
Johnson's life has been a fascinating and inspiring journey of spirituality and humanitarianism, having trained as a nun as a young woman before serving Mother Teresa in her missions around the world. Her two decades of intense study and prayer led to social work with shut-ins, gypsies, refugees, prisoners, and the homeless in such places as the Bronx, New York; Washington, DC; Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada; and Rome, Italy. Spending a total of 15 years in Rome, Johnson eventually became one of Mother Teresa's most trusted nuns. And yet, in spite of the fulfilling work and their relationship, Johnson had begun to confront the fact that her world view was shifting to one of a more secular nature. "The community was becoming more narrow minded, while I was becoming more broad minded," she explains. In the spring of 1997, she told Mother Teresa of her decision to leave the order. "It is not easy to disappoint one of the world's most admired women," she admits. Johnson is currently working on a memoir about the 20 years she spent as a missionary, and the internal transformation she experienced that affected her outlook on life and her opinion of organized religion. "I believe that telling my story can bring hope to many people who struggle with questions of faith, meaning, and religiously-imposed guilt," she says. It promises to be a thought-provoking evening.