Tuesday, 30 September 2003

Bangalore (Fides Service) – The poor will play a major role in celebrations for the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Among the special guests for the Mass presided by Pope John Paul II in Rome on 19 October there will be the woman cured of cancer after prayers were offered to Mother Teresa to intercede with God. The inexplicable cure of the woman suffering from ovary cancer was the miracle which tipped the scales for the Congregation of Saints charged with examining the case for beatification presented by the Archbishop of Calcutta.
Besra is a Santhal Indian from Dinajpur district in West Bengal State. At the time of her cure she was a Muslim today she is a fervent Catholic. The Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s sisters, are helping Monica prepare for her presentation to the Pope with Superior Sister Nirmala Joshi and other sisters.
Besra’s case is contested by some Indian doctors and intellectuals. The West Bengal government has described the Holy See’s position with regard to the cure “ridiculous”. According to a report issued following a local government investigation the woman was cured of ovary cancer after nine months of treatment, not by divine intervention.
However testimony given by the Missionaries of Charity and confirmed by doctors is quite different. Five years ago Besra was found to be suffering from a large ovarian tumour weighing about 10 pounds but due to her general weak condition surgery could have been fatal. Besra says she prayed fervently to God, never letting go of the photograph of Mother Teresa she clasped to her heart. During an examination a few days later doctors were amazed to find no trace of a tumour in the woman’s body. PA (Fides Service 30/9/2003 EM lines 40 Words: 417)