.- An Indian priest who worked with Mother Teresa believes she has miraculously interceded to heal him. If the claim is accepted by the Vatican, his evidence could prove her sainthood.
Father V.M. Thomas, a 56-year-old Salesian priest based in the northeastern Indian town of Guwahati, was inexplicably healed of a painful ureter stone the day before he was to undergo surgery. The details were related in a letter he wrote for the dossier of the investigation into the canonization of Mother Teresa.
Fr. Thomasâ Story
Father Thomas first suffered severe abdominal pain in February. Doctors diagnosed the priest with renal colic and calculi, prescribing medicine to treat the problems. The treatment did not succeed. After recurring pain, doctors recommended in July that Father Thomas undergo surgery.
Father Thomas wanted to wait.
On August 27 he was overcome by âexcruciatingâ pain and met with doctors again. He was admitted to a Guwahati hospital on September 4. Tests confirmed the presence of a large stone in his left ureter, and he was scheduled for surgery on September 6.
On September 5, Blessed Teresaâs feast day, Father Thomas asked hospital staff permission to leave to celebrate Mass. At first permission was refused, but doctors soon surrendered to his request and allowed him a half hour leave. He went to Shishu Bhavan, a home for abandoned children founded by Mother Teresa. The priest sought the beatified nunâs intercession for a successful operation and a speedy recovery. He later wrote: "all this I desired very strongly because of my very close association with Mother Teresa from 1979 to 1997.â
After celebrating Mass, Father Thomas returned to the hospital to be prepared for surgery. He reportedly had a feeling of well-being and slept peacefully.
On the afternoon of September 6, a pre-surgery X-ray was taken. The doctors could not locate the ureter stone. A repeat X-ray also proved negative, as did an ultrasound performed by the same radiologist who did the September 4 tests.
According to the priestâs notes, the hospitalâs surgeon concluded "the disappearance of the calculus was beyond medical explanation." The surgeon later confirmed: "the calculus was no longer there in the ureter, and moreover he had not passed out the calculus in urine, so the operation was canceled." The surgeon stated in his case summary: "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."
Father Thomas believes he was healed at the Mass at Shishu Bhavan.
According to standard Church procedure, a miracle that occurred following Blessed Teresa's beatification on Oct. 19, 2003, is required for her to be declared a saint.