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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK
Mother Teresa sainthood moves nearer
Archbishop D'Souza and Sister Nirmala
Mother Teresa supporters hope the process will be fast
The process of beatifying Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun who spent a lifetime caring for the poor in India, has moved forward with a 35,000-page report on her "reputation of sanctity".


This is the happy conclusion of the first phase of inquiry... We pray for Mother's early sainthood

Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's successor
The report, which purports to list Mother Teresa's virtues and alleged miracles, will be delivered to the Vatican next week, her Missionaries of Charity group says.

It concludes the first phase in the beatification of the Albanian nun, who spent many years of her life tending the dying in the city of Calcutta.

Regarded by many as a saint during her lifetime, Mother Teresa now seems to be on the fast track to official recognition of her sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church, correspondents say.

'Miracles'

The report will be taken from Calcutta to the Vatican in six sealed cardboard boxes.

It is said to include details of a miracle Mother Teresa reportedly performed on a woman suffering from stomach cancer in West Bengal.

A Missionaries of Charity volunteer in front of a statue of Mother Teresa in Calcutta
Hundreds of miracles have been attributed to Mother Teresa
"We can only hope, given Mother Teresa's fame and sanctity, that the process [in Rome] will move as fast as possible," said Calcutta Archbishop Henry Sebastian D'Souza, who oversaw the working of a panel looking into her "life, virtues and reputation of sanctity".

The investigation by Calcutta church authorities in India has concluded that she showed the heroic qualities demanded for a saint.

The Vatican's chief investigator, Brian Kolodiejchuk, said he was overwhelmed by the findings, which include several hundred cases of miracles attributed to Mother Teresa.

But he said the report also contained criticism.

"All this material we have to present, with examples and facts, in a theological way the virtues and then show how Mother Teresa lived them. And even if there were any defects in the practice of these virtues."

Lengthy process

The Vatican's saint-making process is lengthy and exhaustive, and normally takes several decades to complete.

But given the veneration already shown in many parts of the world for the nun, who died only four years ago, Pope John Paul II waived the customary five-year waiting period to start the process leading to possible sainthood.

The investigation started two years ago, and a decision can be expected in Rome about her beatification within the next year or two.

Confirmation of a miracle is required for beatification and a second miracle is required for sainthood.

The Sisters of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, now has about 4,000 members working in more than 120 different countries.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Amanda Woods
"Two miracles must be confirmed before a person is declared a saint"
The BBC's Crispin Thorold
"There were many people reporting miracles being performed"
See also:

27 Jul 99 | South Asia
Mother Teresa on brink of sainthood
03 Sep 98 | South Asia
Mother Teresa's legacy one year on
22 Jul 98 | South Asia
Warning over Mother Teresa fundraising
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