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‘Miracle’ cure puts Mother Teresa on path to rapid sainthood • Sunday December 22, 2002

Daily Telegraph (England), Dec. 21, 2002
By Bruce Johnston in Rome

The Pope paved the way for Mother Teresa’s beatification yesterday by approving in record time a miracle attributed to the Albanian nun.

Although no date was officially given, her beatification – the first major stop on the road to sainthood – is scheduled for Oct 19 next year, just six years after the death of the nun famed for her work in the slums of Calcutta.

The speed of the process means it will be the fastest beatification since Vatican records began. The cause in favour of the missionary known as the “saint of the gutter”, was given a boost in 1999, when the Pope waived for her a Vatican rule requiring that five years must pass between candidate’s death and the start of the beatification procedure.

With this move, the pontiff was underlining the belief of many Roman Catholics who regarded Teresa as a saint in her own lifetime.

At a solemn ceremony yesterday, the Pope decreed approval of a miracle required for beatification, and called Mother Teresa a “world emblem of Christian charity” who enjoyed a “solid worldwide fame of sanctity”.

The miracle involved the curing of an Indian woman’s stomach tumour in 1998, the day after she prayed to the nun, who had died the year before, aged 87.

The cure, which followed the placing of an aluminium medal blessed by Mother Teresa on the stomach, was deemed inexplicable by a panel of Vatican-appointed medical experts, and therefore a miracle.

“The next day, my tumour was gone,” the woman, Monica Bersa, 34, said. “Mother Teresa’s blessings cured me.” Once Mother Teresa is beatified, she can become a candidate for sainthood, provided that another posthumous miracle can be attributed to her.

Fr Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postulator of her cause, said Mother Teresa’s holiness placed her “among the ranks of the great mystics of the Church”.

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