Almost twenty years ago, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died almost at the same time, and the world experienced not only a sudden blooming of love but also a boom of it. The world burst into tears, barriers broke down and released a barrage of blocked emotions. It was like the world dared to confess in unison what it really longed for: the total woman as symbol of love.
They had appeared in two bodies, yet formed a unity: the princess who dared, the mother who cared, respectively the princess who cared and the mother who dared. Though their backgrounds and careers could not have been more different, they had one thing in common: They became unique role models, who in the affairs of love, respectively the service of it, broke away from the prevailing social conventions and grew out of them.
Diana was born with a silver spoon, yet vomited the food, which was served on it, as it threatened to suffocate her. Brimming with beauty and youth, she felt personally rejected inspite of it.
Almost at the end of her strength, she searched for a way out until she, finally, found it. She worked hard to add strength to her beauty or cloak her strength in her beauty. Like a Phoenix, she rose from the ashes of her failed illusions and used her growing popularity to offer her services as benefactress to mankind.
Teresa was not born with a silver spoon, and the property she left behind consisted of little more than a tin bowl. She also neither seemed to possess a determinable age nor tangible figure. Far away from her home country, she dared to enforce in India orthodox catholic thinking in times, when overpopulation seemed to demand birth control rather than the ‘damage control’ of its neglect. She presented herself as a one-woman-institution, who took the burdens of the world onto her shoulders and by doing so gained its admiration, yet did not encourage it to make efforts of its own. To quote a Chinese proverb: ‘Charity is a cover for a multitude of sins’.
Diana and Teresa were an odd couple of exceptional women whom, once their achievements and star-quality were recognized, the media and donors developed into larger-than-life images, icons to be revered and further promoted. Their images grew ever larger and the association with them ever more profitable. ‘Here a hug, there a hug, everywhere a hug-hug’ seemed to be the tune to which they finally danced. Their image, however, partially blurred their real substance. They had become one huge photo opportunity, which sold well, till the end. The beautiful princess for a public that craved romance in all its shades and the withering nun to politicians and an assortment of social activists and climbers, who used her as bait for all the publicity donations could buy.
The glorification of rulers of times bygone had been replaced by a personality cult around two women who did not force their will on others, but opened the doors to their hearts. What surprises me, however, is the fact that Princess Diana and Mother Teresa symbolize eexactly the traits ‘modern women’ have themselves or have been emancipated from: sexy allure and self-sacrificing motherly love. The princess and the mother were in combination the dream of a ‘superwoman of yesteryear’, the holy grail of female essence, the vessel, into which every man would like to sink. It is a vessel more and more women have escaped from. What has remained, however, is a longing, a dream, a memory – of love and a safe haven.
With the death of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa the world bemoaned its own unfulfilled dream – the dream to love and be loved.