Vatican affirms Mother Teresa miracle

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 October, 2002, 12:00am

The way has been cleared for Mother Teresa's beatification after the Vatican finally put its seal of approval yesterday on a miracle attributed to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun.

This puts her one step closer to sainthood.

Sisters of the Calcutta-based Missionaries of Charity, the global order founded by Mother Teresa in 1950, were overjoyed and held a special thanksgiving Mass at her tomb in the eastern Indian city.

Mother Teresa's successor, Sister Nirmala, said: 'I am grateful to God. We are all very, very happy.'

The miracle involved Indian woman Monica Besra, 30, who had an abdominal tumour. She prayed to Mother Teresa and was healed.

The beatification of Mother Teresa, who was known as the 'saint of the gutters', is now a certainty and she could be declared a saint next year.

The recognition of the miracle came after a closed-door meeting at the Vatican in which doctors explained the event to a congregation of cardinals, bishops and priests. The congregation declared the healing and recovery of Ms Besra a miracle that was 'scientifically inexplicable'.

'The progress of Mother Teresa's case for canonisation is the fastest in history,' said Calcutta-based Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, who was appointed by the Vatican to prepare the case.

The committee, including Father Kolodiejchuk and Archbishop Henry D'Souza, compiled a 30,000-page report.

Devotees pressed the Vatican to speed up her sainthood soon after her death in September 1997. In 1999, Pope John Paul allowed the canonisation process to start within two years of her death, amending the existing rule that five years must pass before the sainthood procedure begins.

A second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa would be needed after the beatification for her to be declared a saint.

Two months ago a national survey, in Outlook magazine, voted the Albanian-born nun the greatest Indian since independence in 1947.