It has been revealed that Mother Teresa experienced--for most of her life--the same feeling of darkness and abandonment that many atheists feel.
This incredible woman had one mission on earth: to the poorest of the poor, and now from heaven a mission to those in doubt and darkness.
I hope that just in the way she also raised awareness of the poorest of the poor, she will raise awareness of the plight of atheists.
I have never been completely without faith (I believed in the creator-watchmaker-God-of-the-Deists until I was 15), but in my teenage years before I met a personal God--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--my life was very dark, and I would never want to go back there.
Fr. Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, posits that atheists may be the souls "dearest to the heart of God."