"This is not your grandmother's ex-nun story. Johnson speaks openly and frankly about her experiences as a nun in the order founded by Mother Teresa. While working closely with Mother Teresa, Mary Johnson experienced the holy joy of prayer, and the angst-filled pull of sex. No sugar coating here: Johnson examines the entire experience with staggering honesty." --Barb Johnson, author of More of This World or Maybe Another
“Mary Johnson is brave writ large -- very large and very courageously and very simply and very gently and very intellectually and very wholly. . . Like the vocation of Mother Teresa the language of this memoir is simple -- not elemental, simplistic, naive or raw - but un-embroidered and clear. Mary Johnson has managed to be gentle in her treatment of the subject -- loving without being namby-pamby and unquestioning. I was so surprised to be tearful -- to be moved when Sister Donata left the order. It broke my heart some that she couldn't make it work. How else would I have met Mary Johnson though? How else could she have written this fascinating and affecting memoir?" --Breena Clarke, author of Stand the Storm and River, Cross My Heart
“An Unquenchable Thirst is an eloquent and moving tale that is an extraordinary testament to the enduring power of love- beyond faith and dogma.” --Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace
"Mary Johnson has written a brilliant, bold, and courageous memoir. Through a lens that is both keen and personal, she dives into the mysterious heart of faith—laying bare its beauty and its challenges. What she shares will shake and inspire you to the core. Exactly as a great book should." —Kristen Wolf, author of The Way
"An Unquenchable Thirst is a brave and careful book, enriched by Mary Johnson's honest attention to each nuance of her story. Johnson's revelations about the lived truth of Mother Teresa's order are urgent and important; our world will benefit deeply from her care." —Annie Finch, author of Spells
"This is the provocative story of one woman's arduous journey to self and inner truth. After courageously serving with Mother Teresa, then making the brave choice to leave both Mother and her Sisters, Mary Johnson now seeks her own personal power. As she honors new wisdom and tells her extraordinary tale, Mary's book opens the floodgates for both women and men to tell their stories and to be healed and free." —Gail McMeekin, author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women
"An Unquenchable Thirst reveals the distinctive nature of life in a religious order at the same time that it reminds us of the ties that bind us all. I was moved by Johnson's courage, resilience, and persistence in her quest for compassion and truth. Reading the book heightened my sense of belonging to a humanity that is both flawed and beautiful." —Thordis Simonsen, author of Dances in Two Worlds: A Writer-Artist's Backstory
"Most of us rarely get the chance to see and hear and know the real true life of nuns. Mary Johnson, once a nun, gives us that memorable chance by beautifully telling us the truth of her path, and letting us see her exceptional life." —Esther Cohen, author of Book Doctor: A Novel
"Mary Johnson's memoir is a daring account of how one woman's desire to serve God led her first into and then away from the life of a Missionary of Charity. In addition to the insights into what it was like to work closely with Mother Teresa, this book inspires with its bravery and faith." —Rebecca Brown, Lambda Literary Award author of The Gifts of the Body
Anyone who gets close enough to the Missionaries of Charity sees glimpses of their wholesale insanity; if you haven't seen it you just haven't gotten close enough. Mary Johnson lived within the convent walls, operated at the highest levels, and drank deeply from the communal kool-aid. Yet, after twenty years she was able to leave, relatively unscathed, to share in horrifying and beautiful detail the stories of her life as a nun.
In An Unquenchable Thirst Mary Johnson shows true courage, not just for leaving the Missionaries of Charity after twenty years but for being willing to talk about the difficulties of MC life and the troubling nature of closed systems, absolute obedience and the deep futility of choosing suffering for its own sake.
Mary Johnson captures the deeply bizarre and fractured daily life of a Missionary of Charity nun in jaw-dropping detail, with honest courage and without self-pity.
The world is awed by the work of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, but the story inside the convent is a surprising mess. Johnson takes us inside this world she inhabited for twenty years and lays it—and herself—bare. An Unquenchable Thirst is unafraid, unflinching and deeply troubling. —Kelli Dunham, former Missionary of Charity, queer comic, and author of The Girl's Body Book
"On the plane trip I read all of Mary Johnson's new book, An Unquenchable Thirst. The book was dazzling, a look into the life of a nun who finally leaves being a nun in the service of Mother Teresa to become a whole person. I found it utterly compelling, raw and yet exquisite." --Kate Gale, author of Mating Season from A Mind Never Dormant