Mariam Thresia had just crossed the age of fifty. In one of her visions she had been told by Holy Mother that her life on earth would be short. On 10 May 1926, at the occasion of the blessing of Sacred Heart Convent at Thumboor, Mother Mariam Thresia attended the ceremony kneeling in the sanctuary. The people crowded and filled the chapel. As a consequence a portion of the railing collapsed and fell on her leg. She sustained a deep wound and felt severe pain on the leg, but she did not seem to mind it very much. As she had been habituated to pain and sufferings, she hardly cared about the wound.
She attended to all her responsibilities of the feast day as “The Mother” of the congregation. All used to call her simply “Mother.” The same evening of 10th May, she expressed her thanks in a particular manner to the Vicar General, Mgr. Mathew Edakalathur and to Father Joseph Vithayathil. Placing her hand on the head of each of them, she said, “Father, take good care of your daughters.” Her words rang like an implied goodbye, and everyone thought to themselves that after all she was not that old to die so soon. The congregation was only twelve years then, and so everyone was saddened at her prophesy of her last days.
Mother Mariam Thresia knew that her death was fast approaching and told some sisters about it. Even before she had sustained the deep wound, one day while working in the field with a junior sister, she looked unusually exhausted and asked for water, because the thorny waist belt that was buried in her flesh for long had suddenly emerged out, it was revealed to her that the thorny belt would emerge out on the last days of her life.
Sr. Metilda, one of the junior Sisters, wrote in her written testimony: While I was in Thumboor convent, after the blessing of the convent one day Mother called me to show how to cultivate the vegetables. There was swelling on her leg. While we were returning from the compound, Mother told me, “I will be gone soon. Don’t think that you are young, but learn everything and do everything well.” Hearing this I stayed behind and started to cry. Then Mother looked back at me and seeing that I was crying she held me close to her and tried to comfort me. Though Mariam Thresia was treated very carefully, her condition worsened everyday and was declared fatal.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil gave her the sacraments of the sick and the viaticum of Holy Church on 7 June 1926. Then she was taken back to the convent at Kuzhikkattussery in a bullock cart. St. Mariam Thresia gathered the sisters to her and spoke to them words of comfort and advice in the following words: “If it is the will of the heavenly Bridegroom that I leave you very soon in answer to his invitation, let it be fulfilled. Our congregation is still an infant. You should not forget that it is your responsibility as members of this congregation to foster and rear it. Deal with the superiors sincerely and lovingly. Love one another, help one another”.
On the morning of 8 June 1926 her condition worsened and at her request she was laid on the floor on a mat, while her spiritual father and the sisters knelt down and prayed for her. She kept repeating ejaculations very prayerfully and consciously after her spiritual father. She raised her head and said the ejaculatory prayer “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I entrust my heart and my body into your loving hands.” At 10.00 p.m. she expired in the hands of her spiritual father. She was very peaceful and calm at the moment of her death in spite of intense pain. 9th June 1964 her body was buried in a specially prepared tomb in convent chapel at Kuzhikkattussery in the presence of many Bishops, priests, religious, and a large group of lay people.
Thus a holy life came to an end on earth to begin in heaven. For Christian believers, death is but a change of abode and not the end. St. Mariam Thresia longed for this communion with God and heaven with great delight all her life. In her exhortations she often said to her sisters “I do not want anything in this world but the bliss of heaven”. For Thresia death was just a beginning after the earthly mission to be started in heaven. The miraculous interventions of St. Mariam Thresia is heard widely today as if the heaven is declaring her merits and virtues.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran Chf