Jim Towey was a trusted advisor and personal friend of Mother Teresa of Calcutta for 12 years and did the first reading at her Mass of Canonization in St. Peter’s Square. He has been pro bono legal counsel to the Missionaries of Charity for 38 years.
He previously headed the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under George W. Bush for four years and served on his senior staff. His career spans the presidency of two Catholic colleges for thirteen years, a seven-year stint as a US Senate staffer, and the leadership of Florida’s 40,000-employee health and human services agency. In 1996, with Mother Teresa’s encouragement, he founded the nonprofit advocacy organization Aging with Dignity and created the Five Wishes advance directive, which has sold over 40 million copies. He currently serves as the organization’s CEO.
Towey is the recipient of seven honorary doctorate degrees, including ones from Catholic University of America and Franciscan University. In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II awarded him a papal medal for distinguished service. He currently is a trustee of The Papal Foundation.
Last year Towey authored, To Love and Be Loved: A Personal Portrait of Mother Teresa, published by Simon and Schuster, which is now available in five languages. He and his wife, Mary, are donating the book’s royalties to charities affiliated with the saint’s work. Towey met his wife in Mother Teresa’s Washington, DC, AIDS home and married her in 1992. They have five children and three grandchildren and reside in Falls Church Virginia.