Beatification of Mother Teresa: the disputed miracle

Source: FSSPX News


The miracle which has been accepted by the Roman authorities in order to authorize the beatification of Mother Teresa has been called into question again by the Indian medical profession. Here are the facts:

The cure dates back to September 5 1998, the date of the first anniversary of the death of the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity. “I had been ill for a year,” recounted Monica Besra, today aged 35. “I suffered constantly with fevers, headaches and vomiting, and I had an enormous lump in my stomach which was very painful.” Short of money, she knocked at the door of the mission at Potiram in the north of East Bengal. I had a lot of difficulty getting to the chapel for the service, because at that time I could no longer walk, explained Monica, who has since become a Catholic. When I entered the chapel, I was immediately struck by a ray of light which emanated from the portrait of Mother Teresa. I started to perspire and my heart was beating very fast, so I sat down and stayed there for an hour, without speaking to anyone. As the pain in my stomach was severe, I asked to be taken to the dormitory, before the end of the service. Later the sisters came to see me and they tied a medal, blessed by Mother Teresa before her death, around my stomach. They prayed, and then I went to sleep, with the medal still around my stomach. It was there during the night, that I saw that the lump had disappeared. I even woke my neighbor to make sure I was not dreaming, but it was really true: I was cured! Mother Teresa had returned to take care of me.”

This version of events is contested by the Indian doctors, for whom there was no miraculous cure of cancer, but tuberculosis, cured with the help of medicines. “I examined Monica Besra in May 1998 at Balurghat hospital,” affirmed gynecologist Ranjan Mustafi, “and I diagnosed a tubercular meningitis. She then followed an anti-tuberculosis treatment for nine months, hence her cure. It was a medical problem, which was cured by science, nothing more.” And the regional health minister at that time, Partho De, added: “The enquiry that I ordered proved that it was powerful drugs which cured her.” It should be noted however that these protests come from Indian, and sometimes even scientist spheres, such as the declaration of Probhir Ghosh, of the Indian Association of Rationalists: “In her village many witnesses have affirmed that the tumor disappeared gradually over a period of several months.”

There remain some question marks: why did Monica wait until May 1999, eight months after the disappearance of the tumor, to have her cure confirmed by a doctor? Why did the Missionaries of Charity talk of incurable cancer, whereas the medical reports made no mention of it? Why was the miracle not announced until the beginning of 2000, eighteen months after the event? To these questions, posed by the leftist daily Libération on October 18 and 19, we add this one: were these Indian doctors consulted, as is the case at Lourdes, where an agnostic doctor certifies that the cure cannot be explained scientifically? – To be continued.

A reminder of the stages in the beatification process of Mother Teresa

September 5, 1997 Death of Mother Teresa
October 23, 1997 Mgr. Henry D’Souza, archbishop of Calcutta, asks Rome for a special dispensation, in order to begin immediately an enquiry into the heroic virtues of the nun, whereas the rule normally requires a period of five years to elapse after the death of a person, before the official process can begin.
December 12, 1998 John Paul II grants Mgr. D’Souza a dispensation.
July 26, 1999 Mgr. D’Souza officially opens the diocesan enquiry, during a ceremony in a poor quarter of Calcutta. Twelve people begin work with the postulator, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk.
August 15, 2001 The archbishop of Calcutta officially concludes the diocesan enquiry. The cause passes to Rome, where it is studied by the Congregation for the Cause of Saints
October 1, 2002 The dicastery recognizes the heroic virtues of Mother Teresa, as well as a miracle due to her intercession. Mother Teresa is beatified October 19, 2003.