Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Ordinary Miracle

"Mother Teresa died in 1997. On the first anniversary of her death, two nuns in the Bengali village of Raigunj claim to have strapped an aluminium medal of the departed (a medal that had supposedly been in contact with her dead body) to the abdomen of a woman named Monica Besra. This woman, who was said to be suffering from a large uterine tumour, was thereupon quite cured of it. It will be noticed that Monica is a Catholic girl's name not very common in Bengal, and thus that probably the patient and certainly the nuns were already Mother Teresa fans. This definition would not cover Dr. Manju Murshed, the superintendent of the local hospital, nor Dr. TK Biswas and his gynecologist colleague Dr. Ranjan Mustafi. All three came forward to say that Mrs. Besra had been suffering from tuberculosis and an ovarian growth, and had been successfully treated for both afflications. Dr. Murshed was particularly annoyed at the numerous calls he had received from Mother Teresa's order, the "Missionaries of Charity", pressing him to say that the cure had been miraculous. The patient herself did not make a very impressive interview subject, talking at high speed because, as she put it, she "might otherwise forget" and begging to be excused questions because she might have to "remember". Her own husband, a man named Selku Murmu, broke silence after a while to say that his wife had been cured by ordinary, regular medical treatment."

- Christopher Hitchens, 'God is Not Great'

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