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Priest says Mother Teresa could be beatified within a year

After an Italian newspaper reported that Mother Teresa of Calcutta could be beatified within a year, the promoter of her cause has affirmed that technically "it would be possible".

"If everything goes favorably, the beatification could be sooner rather than later," Missionaries of Charity priest Brian Kolodiejchuk said yesterday.

He said that in late April he gave the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes a four-volume, 5000-page biography of Mother Teresa recounting her "life, virtue and reputation for holiness". The report, known as a "positio", must be studied by nine theologians.

If, in their judgment, the report proves Mother Teresa lived a life of "heroic virtue," the report is passed on to 12 cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation. If they agree with the theologians, a decree of recognition is published in the presence of the pope.

In the meantime, Fr Kolodiejchuk and his collaborators are working on another report, detailing the unexplained healing of a non-Christian woman in India who had a huge abdominal tumor. Members of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, prayed for their founder's intervention in healing the woman. She woke up and the tumor was gone.

If the congregation's board of physicians finds there is no natural explanation for the healing and if theologians studying the case for the Vatican recognise a connection between the nuns' prayers and the healing, it may be the miracle needed for Mother Teresa's beatification.

Mother Teresa died in Calcutta in September 1997. In early 1999, Pope John Paul waived the rule requiring a five-year wait before a beatification process can begin. But the waiver was the only exception made in the cause; the rest of the detailed process is being followed step by step, study by study.


22 May 2002