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Current Issue
Summer, 2015
Volume 41, Number 2
  
26 February 2015
M.L. Thomas




Samundar Singh, left, pays tribute at a memorial ceremony for Sister Rani Maria Vattalil, whom he stabbed to death in 1995. Flanking Mr. Singh are Sister Selmi Paul and Stephen Vattalil, siblings of Sister Rani, who have offered him forgiveness. (photo: M.L. Thomas)

On 25 February 1995, while riding a bus in central India, Samundar Singh stabbed Franciscan Clarist Sister Rani Maria Vattalil over 50 times in plain view of 60 passengers. Mr. Singh was tried and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. While serving his sentence, Sister Selmi Paul, F.C.C., his victim’s sister, visited Mr. Singh, forgiving him and calling him “brother.” Profoundly touched by this gesture, Mr. Singh repented and converted to Christianity. After 11 years in prison, Mr. Singh was released as a result of the petition signed by Sister Rani’s family, the provincial of the Clarist Congregation and the bishop of Indore, offering their forgiveness in a powerful message of Christian love.

Yesterday, Cardinal George Alencherry, major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, led a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sister Rani’s death. Samundar Singh attended, praising Indian Christians as “India’s hope,” remarks all the more relevant in light of recent Hindu fundamentalist attacks on Christians.

Sister Rani Maria received the title, “servant of God,” in 2007. The cause for her beatification and sainthood is being considered.



Tags: India Violence against Christians Sisters Indian Christians Reflections/Inspirational

11 October 2011
M.L. Thomas




Through the Holy Family Ashaniwas, Riya has received an education and now looks forward to her wedding day.

In a marvelous and blessed development, the Holy Family Ashaniwas Child Welfare Center of New Delhi is preparing to celebrate a wedding.

Riya was orphaned early in life and taken in by the Holy Family sisters at the age of 7. Now she has completed 10th grade and is attending a vocational training course. Ishwar Singh, her betrothed, works as a lead maintenance engineer in a city college and hails from a prominent family.

Sister Lilly Chirayath, the director of the center, has been busy making arrangements for the wedding. Customarily, the bride must be provided with household articles, so Sister Lilly has purchased furniture, dress materials, a sewing machine and crockery to present to Riya. This was made possible through the assistance of local benefactors determined to ensure that her child will not face the same conditions that she herself did.

Riya is the sixth girl to become married while in the care of the Holy Family Center. The other five girls will be attending Riya’s wedding with their families.

CNEWA proudly counts itself among those lending support to the Center.

To learn more about Holy Family Ashaniwas, visit their website.

Sister Lilly Chirayath sits with the children for whom the Center provides shelter and the opportunity for a better life.



Tags: India Education Orphans/Orphanages

3 August 2011
M.L. Thomas




M.L. Thomas, CNEWA's Regional Director for India, brings us a success story:

Shoney was a handicapped child in one of CNEWA’s sponsored institutions: Home of Faith, an orphanage in Ernakulam. Through the organization, he was able to undergo an operation to straighten his deformed leg, a handicap that he had been born with.

He received an education and from there he joined the seminary in 1997. His father and mother died while he was in seminary studies.

Despite enduring numerous tragic events and conditions, he has nonetheless striven ever forward. His efforts were not in vain; he was ordained into the priesthood on 20 April 2010. Now known as Father George Shoney Kandathinkara, he works for the mission diocese of Ujjain. Father Kandathinkara contacted us to offer his thanks to CNEWA for the support that enabled him to transform his life, and rise from a poor, handicapped boy to a Catholic priest. He especially thanks Mr. James Y. Rahm, of Huntington Beach, CA, a benefactor of CNEWA who sponsored him as a needy child.



Tags: India