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Researchers from the University of Ottawa and the University of Montreal describe Mother Teresa as “anything but a saint” in a controversial research project that came out at the end of March.

Carola Sénéchal of the U of O and Serge Larivée of l’UdeM explore what they call the “beatification of Mother Teresa” in a study that is intended to be part of a journal titled Religieuses.

The study began when the two researchers were looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for an ethics seminar. In their search they came across documentation of Mother Teresa’s life and said the description was “so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further.”

Their research led them to believe that the religious icon had a “rather dubious way of caring for the sick [and] questionable political contacts.” The researchers also raise issues regarding Mother Teresa’s “shadowy accounting,” and point out that while she was always willing to pray for the suffering, she was generally rather stingy with her monetary donations to the needy.

In India, religious followers and former chief election commissioner Navin Chawla— who wrote a biography of Mother Teresa in 1992— have rejected the study’s findings.