Mother Teresa Mother Teresa helps those most desperately in need -- lepers, unwed mothers, discarded infants, the ill, the insane, the retarded, the dying. Photographer Mary Ellen Mark spent nearly a month with Mother Teresa, documenting her work. "In this extreme of suffering," Mark wrote in her travel diary, "pus, blood, vomit, urine, screams, sad and vacant faces -- the sisters never stop working: they are gentle and kind. Each time I ask something, the sister tells me, 'It is God's work, don't you see? You should put down your camera and do some work.' Quite honestly. I don't think I could."

That Mother Teresa's effort is but a drop of mercy in an ocean of despair is acceptable to her. In a letter she describes how once, delirious with fever, she dreamed she went to Saint Peter. "But he would not let me in, saying, 'There are no slums in heaven.' In anger I said, 'Very well, I will fill heaven with slum people, then you will be forced to let me in.' Poor Saint Peter! Since then the Sisters and Brothers don't give him rest -- because our people have reserved their places in heaven long ago by their suffering."


A beggar sleeps at the mission door in Calcutta.