When the Church bell rang for the Angelus, mother Thanda helped Thresia to make the sign of the cross and recite prayers.
Mariam Thresia, the mystic saint of Kerala was born to Thoma and Thanda, in Chiramel Mankidiyan family on 26 April, 1876 in Puthenchira. Thresia was the third child among five siblings. As per the local custom, in Kerala, for Syrian Catholic families, she was baptized after 9 days on 3 May, 1876, in the parish Church by Rev. Fr. Paul Maliekkal Koonan. The name Thresia was given to her after the name of the great contemplative mystic, St. Teresa of Avila.
The ChiramelMankidiyan family was a devout one, Thoma, Thresia’s father, was a person of deep faith, and fervent in religious matters. According to Thresia’s autobiography, he was a silent admirer of his daughter’s spiritual endeavors. Thresia’s mother, Thanda was a God-fearing woman and had played a vital role in imprinting great devotion to the Holy Trinity, Crucified Jesus, and Mother Mary from her early ages.
The little child Thresia longed for the knnowledge of God; seated on her mother’s lap she often inquired her Mamma“Who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?”. And Thanda her beloved Mother showing the nail holes of Jesus often said to the infant Thresia “you my little girl, never pain Jesus even by smallest of sins all through your life” which she took it to her heart.
Thresia always fell ill and her health got weakened day by day, causing no little anxiety to her mother. but the little one loved to espouse herself to the suffering Jesus even before she reached the age of five; When her mother insisted her upon taking few body nourishments, she calmed her worried mother saying “Had not God given me good health? Therefore, let us place our trust in God.”However, in her early teenage, her dear mother passed away, leaving the young one, the whole responsibility of keeping the family together, especially her little sister Ittianam into her care. Distressed at the void she felt, the young Thresia turned instinctively to the Virgin Mary for comfort committing her body and soul to Bl. Mother, to live becomingly of her daughter.
When she was four imagining to bear Jesus’ cross she placed heavy stones on her back walking four footed in the backyards of her house. Such events are recorded with the apparitions of Baby Jesus who used to roll down the stone and sat on her back for a playful ride together. The duo bond was so intimate that Thresia related to every thought and deed Jesus in it. “How can I play when the Lord is grieving” voicing this she would rather occupy herself to household activities and taking care of the little sister than to play. Recording her later reminiscence in her biography Father Vithayathil writes “it was in order to maintain the presence of God that she gave up games and enjoyments”.
Born to a simple and rustic family in the remote village of Puthenchira, Thresia by her heroic life of Christian virtues and charity made her way to the altar of God, posing herself to be the 4th saint hailing from Kerala, India.She is also the first Stigmatic of Indian Church; bestowed with the five Holy wounds of Jesus visible in her body, till her death.
Besides Mariam Thresia of Puthenchira is widely known to be the pioneer of Family Apostolate Ministry; with an infused Charism to Christianize the families in to Trinitarian Communion, with a prophetic zeal and mission begun by 18th Century, Kerala. She is the Foundress of the Congregation of Holy Family instituted and continued to carry out this unique charism of Family Apostolate in the church. Let us find more in depth about this mystic saint of Kerala St. Mariam Thresia, to be canonized on Oct 13, 2019, in Rome by Pope Francis in Vatican Squire; from her early childhood Bl. Mother Mary was the prime support and guide as she grew in her spiritual life.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran chf