By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, September 29, 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed happiness that an Indian is among five Catholics who will be canonized by Pope Francis next month.
“It is a matter of pride for every Indian that, on the coming October 13, his holiness Pope Francis will declare Sister Mariam Thresia a saint,” the prime minister said on September 29 during ‘Mann Ki Baat’ (Heart’s Voice), his monthly radio program.
Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan (1876-1926) on May 14, 1914, founded the Congregation of the Holy Family to impart Christian values to families at Mannuthy, a village near Thrissur town in Kerala state, southern India.
The Indian nun will be canonized during a Mass along with Cardinal John Henry Newman from England, Italian Josephine Vannini, Swiss Marguerite Bays, and Brazilian Irm Dulce Pontes.
The canonization will take place at St. Peter’s Square.
Modi said Mariam Thresia’s canonization is a matter of pride for India.
“I pay heartfelt tributes to Sister Mariam Thresia and congratulate the citizens of India, and especially our Christian brothers and sisters, for this achievement,” the prime minister said.
Pope Francis on July 1 had formally approved the canonization of the five.
Sister Mariam was born on April 26, 1876, in a Syro-Malabar family in Kerala’s Puthenchira village. She died on June 8, 1926, at Kuzhikkattussery.
She was declared venerable, the second stage of canonization process, on June 28, 1999, and beatified on April 9, 2000, by Pope St. John Paul II in Rome.
Mariam Thresia was the only member when she started the congregation. By the time of her death, the congregation had three new convents, two schools, two hostels, a study house, and an orphanage, a Vatican document said.
She had also built many schools, hostels and orphanages throughout her life and remained devoted to the cause of women’s education.
The congregation now has more than 1,500 professed sisters living in 176 houses in seven provinces, most of them in India. They also work in Germany, Italy and Ghana.
Celebrations started at the Shrine of Blessed Mariam Thresia at Kuzhikkattussery in Thrissur district after Pope Francis formally approved her canonization.
A team from Kerala will attend a special prayer session on the eve of canonization at the Vatican, said Sister Rosmin Mathew of the Kuzhikkattussery Mariam Thresia convent.
Mariam Thresia will be the fourth Catholic from Kerala to be declared saint in the Catholic Church. The first was Sister Alphonsa, a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, in 2008.
Pope Francis canonized Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia in 2014.