Upon the death of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the world was already calling for her canonization. The world saw in Mother Teresa even while she was alive a ‘living saint’ and with this, then Holy Father Saint John Paul II waived the normally mandatory five-year waiting period to start the cause for beatification.
Two miracles are needed one for the beatification and another for canonization but within days of Mother Teresa’s death, possible miracles were reported around the world. As with all such claims, the Church launched comprehensive and meticulous investigations and in the end, these two miracles were approved by the Church.
The first took place in West Bengal, India, and involved the healing of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, whose abdominal tumor was so severe that her doctors abandoned hope of saving her. Taken into the care of the Missionaries of Charity, she continued to decline and endured such agony from the tumor that she could no longer sleep. On the one-year anniversary of Mother’s passing, the sisters at the home placed a Miraculous Medal that had been touched to the body of Mother Teresa on Besra’s stomach. The suffering woman fell asleep, and when she woke up, her pain was gone. Doctors examined her and found the reason why: The tumor had disappeared completely.
A board of medical specialists worked with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to study the alleged miracle. After assessing the records and interviewing the medical staff involved, the committee determined that the healing was medically inexplicable. Pope John Paul approved the miracle on Dec. 20, 2002, barely five years after Teresa’s death.
The second miracle took place in December 2008 in Brazil. Marcilio Haddad Andrino, a now-42-year-old mechanical engineer from Santos, Brazil, struggled with a bacterial infection in the brain that caused severe brain abscesses and agonizing head pain. A priest friend encouraged the recently married young man and his wife, Fernanda Nascimento Rocha, to pray for Mother Teresa’s help. Andrino, however, slipped into a coma as treatments failed, and while Rocha prayed, he was taken in for last-ditch surgery. When the surgeon entered the operating room, he found Andrino awake and asking him what was going on.
Andrino made a full recovery, and the couple went on to have two children, even though it was deemed by doctors to be a near medical impossibility. Father Kolodiejchuk referred to their children as a second miracle.
In an interview with the Register in December 2015, Father Kolodiejchuk explained why there was a delay between 2008 and 2015. “The miracle happened in 2008,” he said, “but we didn’t hear about it till 2013. The doctor [neurosurgeon] was not Catholic. Somehow, after the Pope’s [Pope Francis] visit there [to Brazil], it triggered him to say something to one of the priests of Santos, and that news eventually made its way to myself and the postulation office. That started the chain of events.”
In September 2015, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints accepted the findings of the medical commission and presented the report to Pope Francis for his final approval. On Dec. 17, the Holy Father officially recognized the miracle that was needed for Mother Teresa to be canonized.
Glory to God Most High
Honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary