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TERESA-CURE Oct-1-2007 (590 words) xxxi

Indian priest says his cure was miracle through Mother Teresa

By Catholic News Service

GUWAHATI, India (CNS) -- The sainthood cause of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta could cross its last hurdle if the Vatican approves an allegedly miraculous cure a priest claims he experienced on the 10th anniversary of her death.

Salesian Father V.M. Thomas says Mother Teresa's intercession was responsible for the disappearance of a half-inch kidney stone in his lower ureter, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. The stone disappeared in an unexplainable manner after Father Thomas celebrated Mass and prayed to Mother Teresa Sept. 5, the day before he was scheduled for surgery.

UCA News reported that Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati gave the agency a copy of the priest's files and medical records and, according to the priest's notes, the surgeon affirmed "the disappearance of the calculus (stone) was beyond medical explanation."

Father Thomas, 56, was associated with Mother Teresa from 1979 until her death in 1997.

The priest had been suffering from severe abdominal pain since Feb. 13. Medical examinations in a Guwahati hospital revealed he had renal colic and calculi, and doctors advised him to take medicine to help dissolve the kidney stones. But recurring pains took him to at least four other hospitals elsewhere.

On July 26, surgeons in Guwahati advised surgery, but Father Thomas wanted to wait. On Aug. 27, he met doctors again after he said he was overcome with "excruciating" pain.

He was admitted to a hospital in Guwahati Sept. 4. Tests confirmed the presence of the stone, and doctors set Sept. 6 for its surgical removal.

Father Thomas said that on the morning of Sept. 5, before preparations for his surgery, his doctor allowed him to leave the hospital to celebrate Mass at Shishu Bhavan, a home for abandoned children Mother Teresa started in Guwahati. At the Mass, he asked those present to pray for him, especially through the intercession of Mother Teresa.

The priest later affirmed his belief that Mother Teresa's miraculous intercession caused the stone to disappear.

Surgical preparation began late Sept. 5, but on the afternoon of Sept. 6, when the final presurgical x-ray was taken, the doctors could not locate the stone. A repeat X-ray also proved negative. The chief surgeon then ordered another ultrasound by the same radiologist who did the Sept. 4 tests, but that also proved negative.

Subhash Khanna, the surgeon who treated the priest, said in his case summary that Father Thomas was under his treatment for three months. He was diagnosed as having lower ureteric calculus with diabetes and hypertension, the records showed.

The surgeon further noted that on Sept. 5 the priest went to Shishu Bhavan to celebrate Mother Teresa's feast day. On his return, the priest had a feeling of well-being and slept peacefully, Khanna reported.

Repeated investigations prior to the scheduled surgery left the doctors surprised, because "the calculus was no longer there in the ureter, and moreover he had not passed out the calculus in urine," the doctor confirmed. "So the operation was canceled."

In the case summary, which the surgeon signed Sept. 11, he stated: "It indeed seemed like a miracle and unique incident as the stone, which could not be dissolved with medicine, just vanished on that particular day."

According to standard Vatican procedure, a miracle that occurred following Mother Teresa's beatification Oct. 19, 2003, would be required for her to be canonized, or declared a saint. In cases of alleged medical miracles, the Vatican has a commission of medical specialists review the case.


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