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Report claims Mother Teresa had exorcism

Mother Teresa had an exorcism performed on her while hospitalised in 1997, the Archbishop of Calcutta said on Wednesday.

The disclosure by Archbishop Henry D'Souza came as hundreds of people in this eastern Indian city paid homage to the renowned caregiver on the fourth anniversary of her death.

D'Souza said the exorcism would not affect the nun's candidacy for sainthood.

"No way. Mother was not possessed ... it did not hurt her sanctity," D'Souza told The Associated Press. He said the need for the exorcism was a sign of her human side.

"Human dimension in a saint is quite normal," he said. "It was rather a sign of closeness to God."

He said the exorcism took place in a hospital where the nun was admitted because of heart trouble before her death on Sept. 5, 1997 at age 87. D'Souza said he was undergoing similar treatment at the same hospital.

The doctor treating Mother Teresa reported that she was having trouble sleeping, he said.

"There was no medical reason for that," the archbishop said. "It struck me that there could be some evil spirit which was trying to disturb her."

He said he had subsequently asked - with the nun's consent - for a priest in one of the churches to perform an exorcism.

Along with the priest, Mother Teresa participated in a "prayer of protection" and "slept peacefully after that," he said.