Thrissur: Kerala is closer to getting another saint, thanks to Christopher’s survival story.
Little Christopher was baptized the day he was born. The doctors feared he would not live long to be baptized in the normal way. The child’s lungs were underdeveloped. His heart had three holes. He could have died any day.
But the son of Joshy and Shibi from Choondal in Kanavamkod near Perincherry survived. His family is certain that it was a miracle.
Christopher’s recovery from acute respiratory failure has backed the canonical process to declare Sr Mariyam Thressia as a saint of the Catholic Church. An expert team in the Vatican has approved the miracle and attributed it to the mediation of the founder of the Holy Family congregation in Kerala.
Christopher’s family avers that they owe the child’s life to the intercession of Sr Thressia. They said that they had prayed for the child with a relic of the beatified nun. On April 9, 2009, The doctors testified that the boy was cured.
Christopher outlived the medical prognosis but had difficulty in speaking as a child. The family said that he got better after they took him to pray at the tomb of Sr Thressia. The case for elevating the nun as a saint has two more stages to pass – a debate in the curia and the approval of the Pope’s office.
Fr Benedict Vadakkekkara and Sr Rosmin Mathew are leading the proceedings.
Mariam Thressia was born to Anna and Thoma of the Mankudiyan family at Chirammel in Puthenchirayil near Mala on April 26, 1876. She joined a convent when she was just nine years old.
Thresia was a gifted mystic and experienced numerous visions. The physical manifestations of her mysticism—including the stigmata—led her bishop to order that she undergo the Rite of Exorcism several times between 1902 and 1905. The priest ordered to perform the ritual saw her experiences as a sign of holiness and he served as her spiritual director for the rest of her life. The scrutiny that she endured has been compared to that experienced by Padre Pio during his life.
In time, Thresia added “Mariam” to her name and was given permission by her bishop to build a house of prayer where she and her companions moved in 1913. The following year, the bishop recognized that the women had formed a new religious community and he gave it the name “Congregation of the Holy Family,” giving the sisters the rule of the Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux (who were then serving in Sri Lanka). Within 12 years there were three convents, two schools, two hostels, and an orphanage run by the sisters.
Sister Mariam Thresia died of complications of diabetes on June 8, 1926. Her spiritual director continued to oversee the community until his death in 1964. She was beatified in 2000.
The miracle for the beatification of Blessed Mariam Thresia was the cure of a boy with two club feet, who had scarcely been able to walk until his family offered a two-month long vigil of prayer and fasting in honor of Mariam Thresia. The boy, by then an adult, was present at her beatification.
sources: Manorama, Aletia