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Doubt over Mother Teresa's miracle

By CNN's Satinder Bindra

Indians love Mother Teresa despite doubts about her 'miracle'
Indians love Mother Teresa despite doubts about her 'miracle'

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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Mother Teresa, the nun who cared for Kolkatta's poor and homeless, is set to be beatified by Pope John Paul II in a fast track ceremony.

Sunday's ceremony is part of the pontiff's celebrations to mark 25 years as head of the Roman Catholic church.

The 'Saint of the Gutters,' probably the best known nun in the world even six years after her death, is still loved by millions of Indians across all faiths.

But her speedy journey to beatification, which is one step from sainthood, has stirred controversy.

One of the prerequisites of beatification is the performance of a miracle -- which opponents say she did not perform.

Dr. Ranjan Mustaphi is one of the doubters, questioning the Vatican's belief that Mother Teresa ever performed a miracle.

"I am really astonished," he said. "This is nothing, but a farce."

The controversy centers on a woman, Monica Besra, and her claim that in 1998 her large stomach tumor vanished after praying to Mother Teresa.

After months of study, including lengthy interviews, Rome cleared it as a miracle.

One doctor who treated Besra told CNN there was no scientific explanation for her recovery.

But the doctor who first diagnosed Besra, says the church should not push Besra's case because it was medication, not a miracle that cured her.

"It is scientifically proven that the tumor that she had was linked to tuberculosis," he said. "And it responded to an anti-tubercular drug."

As the faithful gather in Rome for the beatification ceremony, Mother Teresa's life faces more scrutiny. In her last years, she often claimed of being "abandoned" by Jesus Christ.

Pope John Paul II with Mother Teresa outside the Home of the Dying in Kolkatta, India, in 1986.
Pope John Paul II with Mother Teresa outside the Home of the Dying in Kolkatta, India, in 1986.

Mother Teresa was also trying to fight off what church officials describe as "attacks by the Devil."

These attacks were so intense, that her Archbishop ordered prayers of exorcism to be read over her.

But for the church and legions of her fans it is these human frailties that make Mother Teresa even worthier of adulation.

Many Indians credit Mother Teresa, a Nobel Laureate, with lighting up their lives with goodness. Her order, the Missionaries of Charity, still looks after thousands of abandoned children and lepers.

No matter what her critics say, many Indians have already passed judgment on Mother Teresa. They believe she is one of the greatest Indians ever.

A missionary, who was truly a living saint.


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