Thousands attend martyred nun’s beatification
By Saramma Emmanuel
Indore: Thousands of people on November 4 gathered in a central Indian city to attend the beatification of Sister Rani Maria Vattalil, who died of 54 stab wounds from assassin more than 22 years ago.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Cause of Saints, led the beatification ceremonies on the grounds of St. Paul Higher Secondary School in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh state.
Four Indian cardinals along with scores of bishops and hundreds of priests belonging to the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara ritual Churches assisted the Vatican official at the Mass celebrated on a specially erected altar.
The ceremonies began at 10 am with Cardinal Amato reading out the announcement from Pope Francis declaring the Franciscan Clarist Congregation nun as a blessed. Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, then read the declaration’s English version.
The nun from Kerala is the first female martyr of India. The other beatified martyr is Devasahayam Pillai, a lay man of Tamil Nadu
Cardinals Baselios Cleemis and Oswald Gracias accompanied the Vatican official along with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, and Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore.
Samandar Singh, the hired assassin who now leads a quite reformed life in a village, was among nearly 10,000 people who attended the ceremonies. Blessed Rani Maria’s relatives from Kerala also attended.
A public function followed the Mass.
Blessed Rani Maria was working with landless laborers in Madhya Pradesh’s Udainagar area when Singh stabbed her on February 25, 1995. Rani Maria’s family pardoned Singh and accepted him as one of them.
Singh visited the victim’s family at Pulluvazhi, near Perumbavoor, in Kerala after he served his jail term.
Archbishop Diaquattro will celebrate Mass at the Uday Nagar church, where the nun was buried, on November 5.
The Syro Malabar Church in Kerala will mark the occasion with a Mass and a public meeting at the St Mary’s Basilica in Ernakulam on November 11. The relics of the blessed nun will be taken from the Major Archbishop’s House in Ernakulam to the St Mary’s Basilica. The relics will then be taken to Pulluvazhi through various parishes in Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, Auxiilairy Bishop Sebastian Edayanthrath said.