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Vatican clears Indian nun for sainthood

Kerala-born Blessed Mariam Thresia worked to help the poor, sick and afflicted

ucanews.com reporter, Kochi

ucanews.com reporter, Kochi

Published: February 18, 2019 04:52 AM GMT

Updated: February 18, 2019 05:00 AM GMT

Vatican clears Indian nun for sainthood

Indian nun Blessed Mariam Thresia was cleared for canonization by the Vatican on Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of catholicsaints.info)

India will soon have a new saint after Kerala-born nun Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan was cleared for canonization by the Vatican.

Pope Francis has authorized the Congregation for the Cause of Saints to publish a decree recognizing a miracle through the intercession of the nun, the Vatican announced on Feb. 13.

The recognition of the miracle was “the last step for the canonization and it’s cleared now,” said Sister Punneliparambil Udaya, superior general of the Holy Family Congregation of the saintly nun in Kerala state.

“It is huge global recognition for the Indian Church and its spirituality,” said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

He said that “it was also huge consolation at a difficult time of hostility and bad press” for the Indian Church in recent months.

Sister Mariam Thresia (1876-1926) founded the Holy Family Congregation in the archdiocesan area of Trichur to continue her work among the poor and serving the sick and afflicted.

As Blessed Mariam Thresia is also known “as the other Mother Teresa because of her love for the poor, we see her as a great gift” to the Indian Church and “an inspiration to hundreds of people, Catholic nuns and priests working in the villages of India,” Bishop Mascarenhas said.

He said the saintly nun “is truly the compassionate face of the Indian Church” and honoring her helps people see the merits of the Catholic mission amid an anti-Christian atmosphere prevailing in India since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

The date of her canonization and its details are still to be decided but the congregation’s nuns hope it will be held in the second half of this year, said Sister Udaya.

The miracle attributed to the nun involved the cure of a prematurely born baby boy on April 7, 2009, after doctors said they were helpless to save the child.

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The child’s grandmother, a devotee of Blessed Mariam Thresia, sought her intercession by placing a relic on the chest of the boy with the help of a nurse. Within 30 minutes, the nurse reported an unexpected improvement, Sister Udaya told ucaenws.com.

In 2012, the miracle was reported to Rome, 12 years after the venerable nun was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000.

The Holy Family Congregation has 1,970 nuns in 248 houses in nine countries.

“Our sisters continue the charism of the founder — the family apostolate. They mainly visit homes and help the education of girls and care for the sick,” Sister Udaya said.

Blessed Mariam Thresia will become the seventh Indian saint including Portuguese-born Franciscan Brother Gonsalo Garcia (1556-97), canonized in 1862, as the first one.

The first Indian saint in modern history was St. Alphonsa, canonized in 2008, a native of Kerala state. Kerala-born Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia were canonized in 2014. Goa-born Father Joseph Vaz, a missionary in Sri Lanka, was made a saint in 2015, while Mother Teresa was canonized in 2016.

Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-90), a cardinal, theologian and founder of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England, clearing his path to canonization.

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