Thiruvananthapuram: The recent canonisation of Keralite nun Mariam Thresia by Pope Francis has enthralled her devotees the world over, but a medical doctor who reportedly certified the miraculous healing performed by her on a newborn child has landed in trouble.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA)'s Kerala unit has asked its ethics committee to probe the testimony by Dr V K Srinivasan, a senior pediatrician with the Thrissur-based Amala Institute of Medical Sciences and sought an explanation from him, considering it as an "ethical violation".
There were media reports that a new born baby, named Christopher, who was suffering from acute respiratory illness, had recovered after his grandmother put the relic of Mariam Thresia on his hospital bed in 2009.
The "miraculous" recovery of the child was later testified by Dr Srinivasan, based on which the Vatican had upheld her sainthood, the reports said.
Verified miracle is one of the criteria for a person to be elevated to the sainthood by the Vatican.
Dr N Sulfi, state secretary, IMA, said the probe was initiated after the doctors' community in the state sharply criticised the reported testimony.
"Inquiry procedure is going on. We had a preliminary sitting on Sunday. We are yet to get the report. The doctor is just back from Rome after attending the canonisation ceremony," Dr Sulfi told PTI.
While making it clear that IMA was not against matters of any faith, he said a doctor has the moral responsibility to explain any such certification in a scientific manner.
"Belief is the right of an individual or a community. It purely depends on them whether to have faith or not.
IMA has no role in it. Our only concern is regarding scientific matters. We have sought the explanation as several people, including doctors, have raised strong reservation over the reported violation of the scientific aspect in this matter," he said.
Dr Sulfi said the explanation was sought based on media reports and they were yet to know if Dr Srinivasan had in fact made any such certification.
"It can be confirmed only after the doctor explains his position. If there was any miracle, the doctor should prove it as per scientific parameters.
IMA has open mind in this issue," he added.
Mariam Thresia and four others were declared Saints by Pope Francis at a canonisation ceremony at the St Peters Square here on October 13.
Thresia, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Thrissur in May 1914, was raised to the highest position within the centuries-old institution during the open-air mass attended by thousands of people from across the world, including India.
The nun from Kerala was canonised along with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Swiss laywoman Marguerite Bays, Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes and Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini.
Mariam Thresia was called during the first half of her life simply Thresia, the name given to her at baptism on May 3, 1876.
Since 1904, she wanted to be called Mariam Thresia as she believed that she was asked to add 'Mariam' to her name by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a vision.
And it was as Mariam Thresia that she was professed in 1914, the foundress and first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family.
The Church has declared her as one of the rare holy persons who moved constantly and consciously among the inhabitants of this world as well as with visitors from the world above and below.
Sister Thresia died on June 8, 1926 at the age of 50 and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on April 9, 2000.
Pope Francis on February 12 authorised a decree recognising a miracle through her intercession, which cleared her for sainthood, and on July 1, the Pope decided on October 13, as the canonisation day.