Mother Teresa Quote on Facebook about God and Trust is a HOAX!

Here we go again — another mindless misquote getting sent around like wildfire by the dumb, brain-fat, intellectually lazy and maudlin simpletons who use Facebook as a tool for spreading historical inaccuracies and misattributed quotes.  Last month it was Betty White who got the vast majority of Facebook zombies in a frenzy with the hoax quote attributed to her about “growing balls” and something also about “vaginas can take a pounding.”   The Dalai Lama was the victim of a quote hoax only a few weeks after that.

This month the winner of the misquoted dead person award goes to an Albanian lady named Agnes Gonxha Bojahixiu — or as we all know her, Mother Teresa.

This quote is flying around Facbook faster than flies around a manure truck:

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

It’s a lovely quote but MOTHER TERESA DID NOT SAY IT!!!  Why do people spread this bullshit around and think that they are inspiring anyone?  Why are they constantly posting things on Facebook that are not true? Who are the people who start up these bullshit stories?  TheDamienZone looked into it.

“This kind of misquoting has happened blatantly 19 times in world history,” said Dr. Dean Traherne MD, a Behavioral Psychiatrist and an expert in the field of Words, Speech, and Phrase Origination.

“There is a phenomenon in social circles – and Facebook is indeed a social circle – whereby  someone hears a quote and attributes it to someone else because the quote ‘sounds’ like something that person would say.  Some people call it a variation of ‘The Matthew Phenomenon’ which is a somewhat vague sociological term that refers to the rich getting richer as it applies to reading and scholarship.  In other words, a phrase is heard and attributed to a person who never said it simply because the quote sounds like that person said it.  With that in mind,  the famous person is made even more famous by the misattribution of a witty or thought provoking quote.”

“I mention that there have been 19 glaring examples in history, but now that words and quotes can flit about the internet at literally the speed of light, it’s starting to become a much larger problem simply because many of the people who are victims of the Matthew Effect are living celebrities and politicians.  Sometimes the quotes attributed to them are inspirational, and other times they are politically or racially divisive — more often they are laced with lewd or sexually charged descriptions or vulgarity.”

What Dr. Traherne is saying here in his nice professional way is that the vast mentally unwashed on Facebook see a Facebook post with a quote and without checking out the source or looking into the origins of the quote, they pass it along to the next imbecile who in turn passes it on to an even bigger imbecile.  Before you know it, it’s on everybody’s refrigerator.  It makes me sick. receieved the note below from an irate reader:

“It doesn’t matter that she didn’t say it.  It’s a beautiful quote,” wrote Madeline Travaneaux, 66, of Oneonta, New York.  “If I can brighten somebody’s day with a quote, I will sit here at my computer and make these online signs all day long.”

Ms. Travaneau agreed to be interviewed and came away from that interview with some pretty interesting discoveries.

It turns out that Ms. Travenneaux lives in a house full of stuffed “Theme Teddy Bears” and handmade wall signs declaring all kinds of inspirational quotes and sayings — most of them simply invented.

She collects them and manufactures them in huge quatities for the walls and countertops of people who like that kind of junk.

She often enscribes photos with quotations and puts them up on Facebook where they find their way from the internet (Facebook) to the desk of every non-thinking person.  After the quote and picture spreads around fro a few months, the orders start pouring in.  There is not an inch of wall space or table top space in her home.  It’s full of all this crazy stuff — and it’s how this convicted felon makes a good living.

The trouble with Madeline Travanneaux is that she makes these things up to promote her Teddy Bear and wall hanging business, and while attributing a quote to Ghandi or The Dalai Lama or even Betty White may seem harmless, Travenneaux has been twice jailed for criminal impersonation and forgery.  It seems she not only likes make teddy bears and misquote people — she likes to steal their checkbooks and banking information too.

“I don’t do that anymore, honey.  I did 7 years and then another 18 months in State Lockup,” said Travenneaux, ”  But that was different.  I needed the money to get this teddy bear business going and to buy the wood cutting machine that makes all my inspirational wall-hangings.

“It’s not just the thing over the door that says, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ anymore, honey.  I make money sending this stuff around, and like I said, who cares if the person didn’t actually say it.  It sounds likes something they would say and that’s all anybody needs to know.  Why do care about this anyway?  Why are you bothering me?  You’re the one with the problem. buddy.  You sound like a miserable son of a bitch  Maybe you need an inspirational quote or something.”

Madeline Travenneaux is not alone.  There is an army of people like her.  The business of misquoting people is growing in leaps and bounds.  But getting back to Mother Teresa’s quote — who really said it?

The closest we can come to an answer is a letter from a reader who is certain that it came from an episode of the 1970s American situation comedy, “The Jeffersons.”  Supposedly it was uttered in anger by the character of Florence Johnson who played the wisecracking but church-going maid who often made life difficult for her bosses, George and Louise Jefferson.  Other sources are vague and not worth printing.

You might wonder why I bother to blog about something that seems so unimportant — Madeline Travenneau certainly did. I get a lot of letters asking me that.  People send emails like, “Who cares who said it.  Why don’t you just ignore it and write something constructive?”

The fact is that one cannot “ignore” misattributed quotes because that kind of laziness only seves to make the problem worse.  Dr. Traherne says that there are 19 examples of this happening historically.  In other words, long before computers were around, people were doing this.   What will happen when somebody starts passing around quotes attributed to Muhammed or Christ or Vishnu and all hell breaks loose?  You don’t think that can happen?

Here are a few misquotes down through history that have never been substantially remediated.  These are taken from the website: — in it there is a section called “Quotes Behaving Badly.”

“A witty saying proves nothing.” – Voltaire — NEVER SAID IT!

“Only the dead have seen the end of war” – Plato — NEVER SAID IT!

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke — nope — NEVER SAID IT!

Look, I could go on all day, but let me again quote something from Dr. Traherne who was kind enough to offer his knowledge last month when when I posted a similar story where a quote was attributed to the the Tibetan Holy Man, The Dalai Lama:

“Sometimes a person will hear something that sounds in their mind like a certain person should have said it and they get some measure of comfort from believing it to be true. Perhaps they themselves invent a somewhat inspirational quote and know that it will have no legs or longevity unless they attribute that quote to someone more famous than themselves.   Many of the New Testament Gospels may have been written this way.”  [Dean Traherne, MD,  UCMC  Behavioral Health LLC.]
The two links below will take you to my other stories about misquotes.  The stories are brief, but take the time to read the COMMENTS from readers.  You won’t believe the stupidity and nastiness of so many people.



One thought on “Mother Teresa Quote on Facebook about God and Trust is a HOAX!

  1. Thank you Damien for having this website. I knew that quote wasn’t from Mother Teresa and it frustrates me to no end that yours is the only website that is intelligent enough to want the general public to be aware of these hoaxes. I personally enjoy reading quotes but I simply won’t take them off the internet anymore. If I want an inspiring quotation I READ A BOOK. Call me old-fashioned I guess. This article proves as well that not only are these hoaxes obnoxious but in this instance perpetrated by a felon to start up a business. Not the kind of thing I want to be involved in that’s for damn sure. Thanks again for your dedication to the truth.

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