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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Exorcism performed on Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa in hospital bed
The Nobel prize-winner suffered from sleeplessness
Mother Teresa underwent an exorcism in 1997 after a bout of insomnia was blamed on the devil, the Archbishop of Calcutta has revealed.

News of the exorcism emerged on the fourth anniversary of the famous caregiver's death.

Maybe Mother Teresa was under harassment from Satan

Exorcist Rosario Stroscio
Archbishop Henry D'Souza said the half-hour procedure would not damage the nun's chances of achieving sainthood.

"No way," he told the Associated Press. "It did not hurt her sanctity."

The archbishop says the exorcism reveals Mother Teresa's human side and is "a sign of closeness to God".

The exorcism is said to have taken place in a hospital where the nun was admitted for a heart problem before her death on 5 September 1997, at the age of 87.

Mr D'Souza was then receiving treatment in the same hospital.


When the doctor informed him that the nun was having difficulty sleeping, the archbishop feared she might be possessed.

Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa
Pope John Paul put the nun on a fast-track to sainthood
"When doctors said they could not find a medical reason for her sleeplessness, I thought she might be getting attacked by the devil," Archbishop Henry Sebastian D'Souza told Reuters.

"I wanted her to calm down and asked a priest, in the name of the church, to perform an exorcism prayer on her.

"She happily agreed."

Together, exorcist and nun participated in a "prayer of protection".

After that, she slept peacefully, the archbishop said.

'Harassed by Satan'

The 79-year-old Sicilian-born priest, Rosario Stroscio, who performed the exorcism, told Reuters the Nobel prize-winning nun had been acting oddly just before the special prayers began.

"She was a little dazed and behaved strangely," he said.

"Maybe Mother Teresa was under harassment from Satan. But after the prayers, she was quite calm."

The nun, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, may soon be declared a saint.

Pope John Paul waived the usual five-year waiting period and began the process leading to sainthood shortly after her death.

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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