15 October 2019
Following a Mass near Thrissur, India, pilgrims carry a statue of St. Mariam Thresia on 13 October 2019. She was among five people canonized by Pope Francis at the Vatican that day.
(photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)
Among the five people canonized over the weekend, one was a religious sister from Kerala who founded a congregation in India.
From Vatican News:
A religious and mystic, Sister Mariam Theresia was born in Puthenchira, in southern India’s Kerala state, on April 26, 1876. Belonging to a once rich and noble family with extensive landed property, the future pioneer of the family apostolate grew up in piety and holiness under the loving guidance of her saintly mother, Thanda. In her intense love for God, the 8-year old girl gave herself up to austere, penance, fasting and prayer. She wanted to be conformed ever more to the likeness of the suffering Christ to whom she also consecrated her virginity at an early age.
In imitation of Jesus, she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her parish.
She was also blessed with the stigmata but kept it secret to avoid attention. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, an aura of light, sweet odor and frequently had ecstasies and levitations. Her entire existence was tormented by demons and she offered her sufferings for the remission of the sins of the world.
Thresia and three companions who joined her led a life of prayer and austere penance and continued to help families, visiting the sick, the poor and the needy irrespective of religion or caste. This ministry led her to establish the new Congregation of the Holy Family on 14 May 1914.
Sister Thresia died on 8 June 1926, at the age of 50, and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000.
Pope Francis in February authorized a decree recognizing a miracle through her intercession, which cleared her for sainthood, and in July the Pope decided on 13 October as the canonization day.
Since then, the sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Family have been preparing intensely for this great day, said Sister Udaya, the Superior General of the Congregation. In Rome for Sunday’s canonization, she explained to Vatican news that they are concentrating more on spiritual preparation and works of charity for the family than external preparation.
Hear an interview with Sister Udaya at the link.