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 THE POWER OF GOD’S LOVE: A MIRACLE OBTAINED THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA © Postulation for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta A Miracle Attributed to Mother Teresa’s Intercession The cure accepted as a miracle for the beatification of Mother Teresa involved the healing of Monika Besra, a woman from a village in the northern part of West Bengal, India. It was investigated by the Diocesan Enquiry in Kolkata (Calcutta) from November 1999 to January 2001 and studied by the CCS in 2002. The five-member Medical Board of the CCS on 19 June 2002 unanimously concluded that the cure of Monika Besra was scientifically inexplicable. Both the commission of theologians and the panel of Cardinals and Bishops, held on 6 September 2002 and 1 October 2002 respectively, unanimously affirmed that the healing of Monika Besra was a miracle obtained through the intercession of Mother Teresa. The chronology of the cure and selected testimonies are presented below. CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS IN THE MIRACULOUS CURE OF MONIKA BESRA THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA November 15, 1997 - December 15, 1997 – Monika Besra complained of fever, headache and vomiting. February 15 - March 15, 1998 – Monika was still complaining of fever, headache and vomiting. At this time, however, a small swelling appeared in the abdomen. Monika was taken to Holy Cross Hospital at Rajibpur by her sister, Kanchan Besra, a nurse at the same hospital. More or less at this time ammenorrhoea began. March 4, 1998 chest x-ray report from the Gangarampur Clinic states: evidence of homogenous opacity obliterating the left dome, Rt. Angle Cardiac Silhouette – normal twist aorta unfolded. Suggesting of Pt effusion. March 1998 – after one month she was released from Holy Cross Hospital and sent home. April 1998 – complaining again of fever and headache, Monika was taken back to Holy Cross Hospital by her husband, Salku Murmu. Next Day – still with fever, headache and vomiting, she was taken to the District Hospital at Malda. She was discharged and sent home. May 2-5, 1998 – Monika was taken to Sheshraj Medicare Nursing Home at Malda and was visited by Dr. B. Agarwalla. The discharge certificate states: Diagnosis was made of PTB with TB Menengitis with Koch's abdomen Treatment: Medicine Advise on discharge: Tab. AKT-4, 1 daily x 2 months; Tab. Zintac 1 tab BD; Cap. Cobodex Forte 1 Cap. BD; Liq. Polycael fortegel 2 TSP TDS; Syp. Liv 52 2 TSP TDS. She was sent home, but got progressively worse. May 29, 1998 – Monika was admitted to Navajivan, the Home of the Missionaries of Charity at Patiram, with severe headache, fever and vomiting. May 30 - June 9, 1998 – the Missionaries of Charity Sisters admitted Monika into Balurghat Hospital’s TB Ward under the care of Dr. Tapan Mondal. He prescribed antitubercular medicine, i.e. Rifampicin, INH, Etambutol, Pyrazinamide and vitamin B-complex. June 9, 1998 – with complaint of severe headache with H/O PTB, she was referred by Dr. Tapan Mondal and taken to Malda for CAT Scan of Brain, which was done by Dr. Anup Sadhu and Dr. M. Chakraborty. Impression: CT features are suggestive of dilated 3rd & both lateral ventricles; ?Basal meningitis. June 11-15, 1998 – Monika was readmitted to the Emergency Ward of the District Hospital in Balurghat under the care of Dr. Tarun Kumar Biswas. June 15, 1998 Dr. Tarun Kumar Biswas discharged Monika, certifying that she was under treatment at the FMM ward of the District Hospital at Balurghat from 11-15 June 1998, and suffering from Meningitis (TB?) with headache. Advice on discharge: Injection Streptomycin, Tab. AKT 4, Syp. Becozyme C-Forte, Tab. Combiflam, Tab. Histac, Syp. Dyogil, Tab. Alprax. CT Scan of Brain. And referred to Neurology Dept. or any State Medical College. Dr. Biswas also gave a referral letter to two Calcutta hospitals. June 1998 in Navajivan (Patiram) the Sisters continued to administer injections of Streptomycin, R-cinex, Etambutol, Pyrazinamide to Monika. She developed an ever-enlarging stomach because of which she could not walk, take care of her human needs, or sleep. Sr. M. Ann Sevika, M.C., recounts: “We brought her back home and continued with the TB drugs. So she continued to stay in our house and slowly she became better with the fever and headache. But after that she started complaining about her stomach pain and her stomach started to become big. That became our worry.” July 1998 while staying at Navajivan, Monika was visited by Sr. M. Jean, M.C., Regional Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, and Dr. Rudra Nath Bhattacharya, Reader, Department of Community Medicine at North Bengal Medical College at Siliguri. Diagnosis of the SOL (Space Occupying Lesion) August 6, 1998 – Monika was taken to see Dr. Ranjan Mustaphi. In the hand-written notes he states the results of his physical examination: Clinical History: a known case of ?TB Meningitis Provisional Diagnosis: ?Ovarian tumor ?Pregnancy Advice: urgent ultrasound of the pelvis to confirm diagnosis. August 8, 1998 – an Ultrasound was performed at Municipal Pathological Laboratory & Diagnostic Centre in Balurghat by Dr. A. Chakraborty. Written Report of Ultrasonography: Kidneys: normal; Urinary bladder: no lesions noted; Uterus: body and fundus of uterus is mostly obscured by a SOL. Ovaries: not visualized. A large cystic SOL noted in lower abdomen and pelvis. Few solid components noted along the inner surface of this cyst. This cyst extended from pelvis to lower part of abdomen. POD: clear Impression: Findings are in favour of ovarian cyst. August 31, 1998 – Monika was taken to Siliguri and visited by Dr. Sangita Bhattacharya who, after consulting with Dr. Prof. B. Sarkar, wrote a referral letter to Dr. Gautam Mukherjee at North Bengal Medical College for her admission to North Bengal Medical College. August 31, 1998 – Monika was taken to see Dr. Gautam Mukherjee at the North Bengal Medical College Hospital. The hand-written notes of Dr. Mukherjee’s examination read: Monika Besra, 30 years of age, complaining of pain in lower abdomen for one month; amenorrhea for last 8 months; She is now getting anti-TB drugs from June 1998; Medical History: cycle was regular before January 1998; Ultrasound of pelvis performed on 8 August 1998 shows a large cystic S.O.L., Ovarian tumour. P/A, A lump of about 24 weeks size (of pregnancy) partly cystic, mass in centimetres with uterus. P/V Ut exact size cannot be elicited, both fornices tender. P/A Ovarian Lump. Patient’s general condition is poor at present. Laparotomy after 3 months. Monthly check-up, X-ray, Chest P.A. view, Blood for T.C/D.C/ESR/Hb, T.C.A. one month.” August 31, 1998 – a ticket for tests to be performed on Monika Besra at the Outpatient Department of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital was issued: she will have to undergo a laparotomy; she is to come after one month for evaluation and to continue ATD (anti-tubercular drugs). Text © Mother Teresa Center of the Missionaries of Charity

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