Mariam Thresia declared saint

Special prayers held at her tomb at Kuzhikkattussery in Thrissur

October 13, 2019 10:51 pm | Updated October 14, 2019 10:27 am IST - Thrissur

A crown being placed on the statue of Mariam Thresia at her shrine at Kuzhikkattussery, Thrissur, after Pope Francis declared the nun a saint on Sunday.

A crown being placed on the statue of Mariam Thresia at her shrine at Kuzhikkattussery, Thrissur, after Pope Francis declared the nun a saint on Sunday.

Sister Mariam Thresia, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, was declared a saint by Pope Francis at a grand ceremony at the Vatican City on Sunday.

The nun, who hailed from Puthenchira in Thrissur district, was canonised along with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Swiss laywoman Marguerite Bays, Brazilian nun Dulce Lopes, and Italian nun Giuseppina Vannini.

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan led the Indian delegation, comprising T.N. Prathapan, MP; former Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph; and family members of the saint, to Vatican. Around 300 nuns of the congregation too attended the function. Christopher, a boy from Thrissur, who was healed with the intercession of Sister Mariam Thresia also attended the ceremony.

At her birth place

As the ceremony was going on in Vatican City, thousands of devotees prayed at her tomb at the Kuzhikkattussery shrine and her birth place in Puthenchira. A Mass led by retired Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop George Panikulam and special prayers were held at Kuzhikkattussery from 10 a.m. A crown, symbol of sainthood, was placed on the head of the saint’s statue and devotees were served Ootu Nercha (feast). Many brought patients to the saint’s tomb for prayers.

“It’s a blessed moment for Puthenchira, her birth place, the congregation, and the Indian Church. Her life should be a role model for us,” said Archbishop George Panikulam.

Thousands witnessed the live telecast of the canonisation on the big screen placed in the shrine at Kuzhikkattussery and Puthenchira Forane Church. Since the nun was declared venerable in 1999, devotees have been pouring into a museum at Kuzhikkattussery which houses her relics.

Mariam Thresia was born in Puthenchira, a sleepy village in Thrissur district, on April 26, 1876 as the third daughter of Chiramel Mankidiyan Thoma and Thanda. From an early age, she led a life of austerity and penance. Along with three of her friends, she helped the poor, nursed the sick and comforted lonely persons in her parish. In 1914, she found the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family. She served as a nun for 11 years.

She died at Kuzhikkattussery on June 8, 1926 at the age of 50. She was declared venerable on June 28, 1999 and beatified on April 9, 2000. Pope Francis approved the miracle attributed to her in 2009. A medical team from Vatican accepted on March 22, 2018 that a baby boy who had life-threatening respiratory problems had been cured with her intercession.

Four saints now

With the canonisation of Mariam Thresia, the Syro Malabar Church in Kerala now has four saints. Others are Sister Alphonsa, Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara, and Sister Euphrasia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme on September 29, had referred to Sister Mariam Thresia and said that was a matter of pride for every Indian.

Major Archbishop Cardinal Mar George Alencherry will perform a thanksgiving Mass at St. Anastasia Basilica, in Rome, on Monday. The Indian celebration of the canonisation will be held on November 16 at Kuzhikkattussery.

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