verses below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa's
home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to
sources say that the words below
were written on the wall in Mother Teresa's own room. In any
case, their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries
of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do, the
spirit in which they lived their lives.
seem to be based on a composition originally by Kent Keith, but
much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way.
Both versions are shown below.
1. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's
home for children in Calcutta:
are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive
you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and
some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and
you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good
the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best
the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between
you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa
2. The Original Version:
The Paradoxical Commandments
Dr. Kent M. Keith
1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith
"The Paradoxical Commandments" were written by Kent
M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.