Mother Teresa and leprosy

Letter April 21, 2010

LISBURN: This is with reference to Faiza S Khan’s article of April 18 titled ‘City of joy, sometimes’. Not wishing in any way to detract from the wonderful loving compassion which Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Mercy showed to those suffering from leprosy, I have to point out that she was not a ‘leper-curer’ as the article would suggest.

Had she been then her fame would have far out-stripped that which she achieved in her lifetime. Leprosy can only be cured by the use of powerful antibiotics – not by the intervention of people – no matter how sanctified they may be. The great strength of Mother Teresa was that she treated those with leprosy in a dignified manner. The word leper was outlawed many decades ago by the international community – notably the World Health Organisation and the Christian Church generally.

It is such an insulting label to apply to anyone in that it further stigmatises those already suffering discrimination and marginalisation. How sad to see it still being used in articles such as this.