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Vatican official visits nun’s tomb

More than 1,100 people attended anniversary commemoration

Vatican official visits nun’s tomb
Postulate General Father Giovangiuseppe Califano praying at the tomb of Servant of God Sr. Rani Maria, Indore

February 28, 2011

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A Vatican official visited the tomb of Franciscan Clarist Sister Rani Maria in central India on February 26, on the 16th anniversary of her “martyrdom.” Capuchin Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, postulator general for the Beatification Causes of Saints, visited Udainagar in Madhya Pradesh as part of the murdered nun’s canonization process. Hired killer, Samunder Singh, stabbed the nun as she was traveling to Indore on a bus in 1995. Her work among poor landless people had angered several landowners, one of whom hired Singh to kill her. Franciscan Clarist Sister Bincy Theresa, an external collaborator for the canonization cause who accompanied the Vatican official from Rome, said he visited sites where Sister Maria worked, lived and died. A diocesan tribunal, set up by late bishop George Anathil of Indore, submitted a 10,000-page report to the congregation in 2007. The Vatican congregation has given juridical validity to the diocesan tribunal findings and appointed Father Daniel Ols as the relater to “take the process further,” Sister Theresa said. Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, who heads the Church in the state, led the ceremonies on the 16th anniversary of her martyrdom. He prayed that Sister Maria’s death could help local people understand Christianity and its services to the poor. More than 1,100 people from across the state, mostly nuns and priests, attended the event at Udainagar where Sister Maria was killed. Father Santosh Tigga, the local parish priest, said people in the area accept the Church and appreciate its work. “There is no threat from anybody now,” he said. The priest said people now call Sister Maria, “Rani [queen] of Udainagar.” Her killer, Singh, who converted to Christianity while serving a 12-year jail term, also came to pray at Sister Maria’s tomb. She was a holy person and “Udainagar would never forget her services to the poor,” he said. IC13454.1643
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