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Mother Teresa to become saint after Pope recognises second miracle

Pope Francis has signed off on the second miracle required to grant the late nun a sainthood.

Image: AP

POPE FRANCIS HAS recognised a second miracle attributed to the late MotherTeresa, clearing the path for the nun to be elevated to sainthood next year, the Vatican said today.

Mother Teresa, celebrated for her work with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata, is expected to be canonised on September 4, a day already dedicated to the late nun’s memory, experts say.

Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza said the Vatican has recognised that Mother Teresa cured a Brazilian man suffering from multiple brain tumours in 2008.

Teresa, who was born to Albanian parents in what is now Skopje in Macedonia, was known across the world for her charity work. She died in 1997 at the age of 87.

‘Saint of the Gutters’ 

Nicknamed the “Saint of the Gutters”, she dedicated her life to the poor, the sick and the dying in the slums of Kolkata, one of India’s biggest cities, founding the Missionaries of Charity order of nuns. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

She was beatified by then pope John Paul II in a fast-tracked process in 2003, in a ceremony attended by some 300,000 pilgrims. Beatification is a first step towards sainthood.

Her missionary order in Kolkata – formerly known as Calcutta – said it was “thrilled” and grateful to Pope Francis.

In 2002, the Vatican officially recognised a miracle Mother Teresa was said to have carried out after her death, namely the 1998 healing of a Bengali tribal woman, Monika Besra, who was suffering from an abdominal tumour.

Vatican Mother Teresa Mother Teresa cradles an armless baby girl at her order's orphanage. Source: AP

Tumours ‘suddenly, inexplicably disappeared’

The traditional canonisation procedure requires at least two miracles.

The second miracle involved a 35-year-old Brazilian man who had not long been married when he was diagnosed with eight brain tumours in 2008, according to Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli.

On 9 December, the man was wheeled into the operating room in an induced coma, but doctors were forced to delay the medical procedure by half and hour because of technical problems.

While they waited, the man’s wife led prayers to Mother Teresa in the hospital’s chapel. When the surgeon returned to the operating room he is sais to have found the patient awake, sitting up and asking “what am I doing here?”

“I have never seen a case like it,” the surgeon was quoted as saying, after a CAT scan showed that the Brazilian’s tumours “had suddenly and inexplicably disappeared”, Tornielli said in La Stampa daily.

Criticism

For all the reverence with which her name and memory are treated, Mother Teresa was not without her critics.

She has been accused of trying to foist Catholicism on the vulnerable, with Australian feminist and academic Germaine Greer calling her a “religious imperialist”.

One of her most vocal detractors was the British-born author Christopher Hitchens, who accused her of contributing to the misery of the poor with her strident opposition to contraception and abortion.

Questions have also been raised over the Missionaries of Charity’s finances, as well as conditions in the order’s hospices where there has been resistance to introducing modern hygiene methods.

Read: Pope puts Cork woman one step closer to becoming a saint

Read: Pope celebrates fast-track sainthood of personal hero Pierre Favre

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Associated Press

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