(RNS) Just four years after her death, a 35,000-page report detailing Mother Teresa's fitness for sainthood is headed for the Vatican.

The report, generated by the Archdiocese of Calcutta, completes the first phase of beatification for the Albanian nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity -- a Catholic order of nuns dedicated to serving the "poorest of the poor."

The formal diocesan investigation into Mother Teresa's "life, virtues and reputation of sanctity" began two years ago, after Pope John Paul II waived the traditional five-year waiting period. "We pray for Mother's early sainthood," said Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's successor, at the closing ceremony of Calcutta's Diocesan Commission. She was quoted by the Associated Press.

In the next stage of the beatification process, the diocesan report will be reviewed in Rome by an appointed overseer of Mother Teresa's sainthood cause. A summary will then be presented to a panel of theologians, then a panel of bishops and cardinals. The pope will weigh their findings before making the final decision.

Beatification is a necessary step before canonization, or recognition of sainthood, in the Roman Catholic Church. If Mother Teresa is canonized, it would signify that the church considers her to have led a life of "heroic virtue" and would give the official Vatican nod for Catholics to pray for her intercession.

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