Only five months have passed since the death of Mother Teresa, and already people are beginning to talk of miraculous happenings centring around her apostolate. News of a first extraordinary event came from Italy, and to be precise Trieste, my native city. It was reported by Mr. Romolo Gessi, 68, who is the manager of an insurance company in that important transit port for central Europe. The event has its origins in 1988 when, because of a metastasis brought on by a malignant tumour, Mr. Gessi had very little hope of survival. Doctors said that he did not have long to live, perhaps as little as three months. I was desperate, completely demoralised, said Mr. Gessi. Then, by chance, I met an angel, in the form of Mother Teresa, when I was on a business flight. We talked for half an hour, and I confided in her, telling her about my critical health situation and my discouragement.
Romolo Gessi told Mother Teresa that in a few days’ time, he would have to go to Texas, where there is one of the most advanced health centres for the treatment of melanomas. She approved of his choice, telling him, Those American doctors can make a great contribution towards your return to health. She then added, Now it’s up to you to react to your condition, you must have faith and hope. You cannot let yourself be overcome by dejection. She then turned to one of her sisters and took from her a small medal of tin and aluminium portraying the Virgin Mary. She placed that medal in my hands, tells Mr. Gessi, and told me to carry it with me always, and to have faith that miracles can happen. She used that very word – ‘miracle’. Before we disembarked, Mother Teresa took a piece of paper and, with her pen, she wrote me a brief message: ‘God bless you, from Mother Teresa’.
The medallion which Mother Teresa gave to Mr. Gessi was a poor copy of the ‘Miraculous Medal’, forged in 1832 in honour of the Immaculate Conception. He was greatly comforted by the words of the nun from Calcutta and, in the months which followed, his illness left him completely in a most extraordinary way.
Ten years have passed since that encounter with Mother Teresa, and the insurance man is still in extremely good health. His moving testimony will be included among the documentation to be presented at the case for the beatification of Mother Teresa, a juridical process which will not begin until at least the year 2002, five years after her death, as prescribed by Canon Law. But there is another event which links Mother Teresa to the Miraculous Medal. It was told by Mr. Francesco Rutelli, who has just been re-elected as the Mayor of Rome. When I met Mother Teresa some years ago, while she was on visit to the community of the Missionaries of Charity here in Rome, she gave me a small medal, which I have worn around my neck ever since. It was a medal inspired by the visions of Catherine Labouré. On the night between 4 and 5 September, 1997, I dreamt that Mother Teresa was dead, and when I awoke in the morning, I found that the chain to which the medal was attached had broken. A few hours later, I heard of her passing on the news.