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"A heartfelt, personal story of the gradual awakening of a woman who comes to see that preferring the 'human to the perfect' does not alienate her from authentic spirituality but allows her to live more fully."

Kathleen Norris,
author of The Cloister Walk

Mary Johnson, Passionate Advocate, Writer, Teacher

I enjoy talking to people about things that matter, and doing so in interesting, engaging ways. Thanks for coming to my page.



Teacher and Workshop Facilitator

I also teach and lead workshops. For possible topics, click on the headings below.

On Personal Growth

  • Living an Authentic Life: Big Concept, Practical Steps
  • When Everything Changes Overnight
  • When and How To Let Go
  • The Joys of Doubt
  • Useful Uncertainty
  • An Unquenchable Thirst: My twenty years with Mother Teresa, and my decision to follow a new path

On Interfaith/Secular Themes

  • Adopting Traditional Christian Meditation for ALL
  • How My Family does Holidays: Eight Belief Systems around One Turkey
  • Mass Media and Religion: Concerns

On Social Systems, Women's Issues

  • When Beauty and Oppression Walk Hand in Hand: My Story from inside one of the World’s Most Revered Religious Systems
  • Commitment Mechanisms of the Missionaries of Charity
  • Women and Community: Strengths and Dangers
  • Adolescence: The Explosive Passions that Shape Adult Life

On Mother Teresa        

  • Mother Teresa's Dark Night of the Soul: Unexpected Lessons
  • People Always Ask Me What Mother Teresa was REALLY Like
  • Mother Teresa and Princess Diana Met at My House: Learning from Two of the World’s Most Admired Women 
  • Mother Teresa as both Model and Portent 

For Secular Groups

  • Herding Cats: Building Secular Community
  • Constructing YOUR Purposeful Life: Tips from One who Lost Mother Teresa and Found Herself
  • Life and Mystery
  • Godless Heathen within a Religious Family: Avoiding Domestic Armageddon
  • Dealing with Those Who Disapprove: An Ex-Nun’s Perspective
  • This I Believe, This I Hold Dear: Draft Your Personal Creed (best as a week-end workshop)

For Religious Groups

  • How Best to Serve Our Neighbor?
  • Was Mother Teresa a Good Christian? Why it’s important to talk about this
  • Adventures, Missteps, and Growth: My Experiences Within and Beyond Consecrated Chastity
  • An Unquenchable Thirst: My Twenty Years with Mother Teresa

For Writers

  • The Questions that Scare Us Writers Most
  • Writing about Transcendent Experiences
  • Construct a Faithful Narrative from Your Life’s Million Little Pieces
  • Freedom and Support to Finish Your Next Big Writing Project
  • Writing Through Fear


An Unquenchable Thirst

An Unquenchable Thirst is the story of my twenty years as a Missionary of Charity, a nun with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. People tell me that the book is more than a fascinating story about nuns; they say it’s a book about being human. That pleases me.

Mother Teresa always used to tell us:  “God made us to love and to be loved.” An Unquenchable Thirst is the story of the many ways love surprised and challenged me, and of how I came to understand myself as a woman with body, mind, desires, and what some would call soul. I hope you’ll enjoy my stories, and that my book will spark lively, honest discussion. Click here for more details and here for a Readers' Guide.