The former advisor to President Bush discusses his book To Love and Be Loved
Last week, the Bush Center and Old Parkland co-hosted an event with Jim Towey about his new book To Love and Be Loved: A Personal Portrait of Mother Teresa. I had the privilege of moderating that conversation with Jim, who I got to know when we served together in the White House. Jim led the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which President Bush created to spotlight and strengthen the role of faith-based and community organizations in providing social services and solving some of our most pressing challenges. He was also a friend to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and served as the legal counsel for the Missionaries of Charity, among many other roles.
I was able to go in depth with Jim about his relationship with Mother Teresa—how he first met her in the mid-80’s in Calcutta and was immediately put to work in her home for the dying. That one interaction spurred Jim to make changes in his own life and prioritize serving the poor as a central part of his work. It also led Jim to serving as Mother Teresa’s lawyer, which brought with it some entertaining stories of why she would need a lawyer in the first place and some of the more fascinating and funny examples of lawsuits he was involved in.
Jim also shared stories of Mother Teresa’s humanity; he likes to say she became a saint “because of her humanity, not despite it.” She saw aging as a blessing, and with her encouragement, Jim started the organization Aging with Dignity to help families across this country with end-of-life conversations and decisions.
I’d like to thank Old Parkland for co-hosting this event with us and giving us the opportunity to spotlight Jim’s book and his insights into a modern saint.