Mother Teresa – who will be formally canonized by Pope Francis on September 4 – is credited by the Roman Catholic Church with performing two miracles.
The Pope will hold a canonization Mass for the Albanian nun in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, said CNN.
Mother Teresa devoted her life to the poor of Calcutta, India. However, the Catholic Church requires more than humanitarian work to become a Saint; two miracles are required.
What miracles are attributed to Mother Teresa?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Bengali Woman Named Monica Besra Says Mother Teresa Healed Her Stomach Tumor
The Toronta Star says Monica Besra – the subject of Mother Teresa’s first miracle – is from a tribal community in eastern India. She “was so sick she could barely walk when nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa, helped her to a small prayer room one day in 1998,” the newspaper says.
The Washington Post says Besra claims she “paused by a photo of the nun and suddenly felt a ‘blinding light’ emanating from the portrait, and it passed through her body.”
She said she fell unconscious, adding, “When I woke up the next morning, the lump was gone,” says ETPanache.
“At that moment, she says she was relieved of her cancerous tumor,” says The Daily Beast.
The Mumbai Mirror says of Besra: “Eighteen years back, in 1998, Besra was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.”
Besra, now 50, tells Mumbai Mirror of Mother Teresa: “She is my God. I have always prayed to her with devotion and my prayers were answered.”
Some doctors claim that Besra actually had a cyst, not a tumor, and was cured through medical treatment, the newspaper says.
This is considered Mother Teresa’s first miracle.
2. A Brazilian Engineer Named Marcilio Andrino Says He Was Cured of a Viral Brain Infection
Andrino is the subject of Mother Teresa’s second miracle, according to the Roman Catholic Church.
Catholic Online says Andrino “was sick for two years before it was discovered he had eight brain abscesses. Andrino and his wife asked for the intercession of Mother Teresa. They placed a relic of her on his head and prayed together.”
He suddenly healed after being rushed into intensive care surgery, says Catholic Online.
“The merciful Lord looks at us all without distinction,” Andrino said, according to Fox News. “Maybe it was me this time but maybe tomorrow it will be someone else. The merciful mother looks after everyone. I don’t feel special.”
The Associated Press says: “Vatican doctors and theologians determined that it (Andrino’s healing) was medically inexplicable, instantaneous, lasting and due to the intercession of Mother Teresa, who died in 1997.”
3. Two Miracles Must Be Found For a Person to Qualify For Catholic Sainthood
According to ABC, a person only qualifies for Catholic Sainthood if he or she has performed two miracles, “usually of healing” that occurred “as a direct result of the intercession with God by the candidate.”
The miracles must meet certain tests. There must be “strict medical evidence” that the illness was “medically incurable, that the cures were decisive, and that they were clearly the result of appeal to the candidate,” says ABC.
4. The Sainthood Process Was Sped Up For Mother Teresa
The Catholic Church normally requires a person to be deceased for five years for the canonization process to start. In the case of Mother Teresa, though, that process started in 2009, two years after she died, says AmericanCatholic.org.
The Catholic site says that the Archbishop of Calcutta at the time, Monsignor Henry D’Souza, “requested that Pope John Paul II dispense with the five-year waiting period required before beginning the process of beatification and canonization.”
The church collected over 25,000 pages of documentation backing up Mother Teresa’s case for Sainthood, says AmericanCatholic.org.
Mother Teresa does have critics. You can read more about their criticism here:
5. Mother Teresa Was Born in Albania & Won the Nobel Peace Prize
Mother Teresa was born “Agnes Bojaxhiu to an Albanian family in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia,” says NPR, adding that she “became world-famous for her devotion to the destitute and dying.”
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Many inspirational quotes are attributed to her, but perhaps none is as famous as the “do it anyway” poem. It reads this way; however, Mother Teresa did not write it. The actual author was a man named Kent Keith. She did, however, post the words at a children’s home in Calcutta.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.