The Vatican is studying the case of a Brazilian man inexplicably cured of brain abscesses – which could be the miracle that leads to the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Pope Francis voiced his desire to canonize Mother Teresa during the Jubilee Year of Mercy which will begin on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as a ¨sign of mercy for the world¨ in service to the poor.
Father Caetano Rizzi, who works in the Vatican’s congregation for saints, told CNA that the Pope “wants to beatify and canonize men and women that were a sign of mercy for the world in this Jubilee (Year), and Mother Teresa is a model, because of that there’s a certain urgency in her process."
The possible miracle that would bring about Mother Teresa’s canonization occurred in 2008. A man from Santos, Brazil, whose identity has not been divulged in order to maintain the discretion needed to conclude the investigation, was unexpectedly cured from eight abscesses in his brain that required an operation.
In Presença Diocesana, a Brazilian newspaper, Father Elmiram Ferreira explained that he ministered to the family during this time:
“I saw the pain and the suffering of all of them because he was starting a new life (he was recently married) and the illness delayed many of their dreams. I had a lot of faith in the Great Mother Teresa and I always celebrate the Holy Mass in the community of the Sisters of Charity. The way in which she confronted pain and suffering of Christ himself inspired me to also comprehend the suffering of that family."
The priest gave the family a prayer to ask for the intercession of Blessed Teresa and told them to pray without ceasing. “Mother Teresa turned into their comfort and strength during that long time. So when his complete recovery was verified and the doctors could not explain it, I understood that there was the hand of the Blessed."
“The doctor that treated the man in Santos is the same one that cared for Pope Francis at World Youth Day in 2013, he told the pontiff about the case. His Holiness expressed his desire to better study the case and because of that those in charge of the cause came from Rome to Santos."
Vatican experts on the cause were present in Santos in July to advance the next phase of the investigation. Among them were: Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator for the Cause of Canonization of Mother Teresa; Monsignor Robert Sarno, member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; and Father Caetano Rizzi.
Father Rizzi told CNA: “I met her in 1980 or 1981 when I came to a talk in Anhembi (Sao Paulo, Brazil) about the value of life. Mother Teresa defended life from conception until natural death. For me, she was a ‘living saint.’"
In May of this year, Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that “there is not an official date for the canonization, but I can say that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is studying this cause."
The possible miracle must be examined by a number of doctors in this dicastery and then on to a theological council. Upon being approved, it awaits the final approval by the Pope.
According to the calendar for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Sept, 4, 2016 is the “Jubilee for workers and volunteers of Mercy," which would fall one day before the feast day of Blessed Mother Teresa.