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Mother Teresa Passes First Point to Sainthood

September 28, 2002|From Times Wire Services

Mother Teresa reportedly passed her first major milestone on the road to sainthood in record time this week when the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved her "heroic virtues."

The Italian news agency ANSA said the congregation will meet again Oct. 1 to consider a miraculous cure attributed to her intervention. Proof of a miracle would qualify her for beatification, the step just before sainthood.

If the Vatican continues to act with the unusual speed it has displayed so far, the way would be clear for Pope John Paul II to declare Mother Teresa blessed early next year.

The congregation based its action Tuesday on 5,000 pages of documentation on Mother Teresa's life collected in five volumes. The information before the cardinals and bishops summarized testimony from 113 witnesses and documents collected by 15 investigators in 80 volumes totaling 35,000 pages.

Mother Teresa's cause got a head start when the pope waived the five-year waiting period normally required between a death and the opening of a process toward sainthood. The Vatican announced his action on March 1, 1999, less than 18 months after her death on Sept. 5, 1997, at age 87.

The miracle attributed to Mother Teresa is the healing of an Indian woman who suffered from an abdominal tumor.

If it is given final approval by the pope, Mother Teresa's name could be included in the Vatican's proclamation just before Christmas of candidates approved for canonization.

A second miracle occurring after beatification is required for canonization.

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