Mother Teresa (1910–1997), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, had led such an exemplary life as a nun devoted to healing the poor of India that, shortly after her death on September 5, 1997, Pope John Paul II (1920– ) waived the customary five-year-waiting period and began the process to consider her for possible sainthood. On September 5, 2001, on the fourth anniversary of her death, the Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry D'Souza, revealed that Mother Teresa had an exorcism performed on her while she was hospitalized in 1997. Because the Roman Catholic Church performs exorcisms only when someone is believed to be possessed by the devil, the world was shocked by such a disclosure.

According to D'Souza, shortly before her death at the age of 87, Mother Teresa was admitted to a hospital because of heart trouble. D'Souza happened to be a patient in the same hospital during her stay, and he learned that the nun was having difficulty sleeping. When it was determined that there was no medical reason to account for such problems, it occurred to him that some evil spirit might be trying to disturb her during the night.

With the nun's consent, D'Souza arranged for a priest to perform an exorcism as a precautionary measure. Mother Theresa participated with the priest in a prayer for protection and slept peacefully after the ritual had been completed. Not wishing to tarnish Mother Teresa's sanctity, immediately after he had made the disclosure of her exorcism, D'Souza insisted that she had not been satanically possessed, and he was firm in his assertion that the exorcism should in no way affect her candidacy for sainthood.


"Archbishop: Mother Theresa underwent Exorcism." 7 September 2001.

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