Pride of India
THE MOTHERLAND OF BLESSED MARIAM THRESIA
India is a land of diverse religions, languages and cultures. The major religious communities of India today are Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Parsis. The major faith is Hidusiom.
The lifetime of Blessed Mariam Thresia was a period of vast political upheavals and ecclesiastical convulsion in India. She was born in the heyday of the British Raj. The thirst for freedom and independence was growing in India under the leadership of the Congress Party and Mahatma Gandhi was coming to the scene.
A new world order was ushered in, precipitated by the First World War. The repercussions of the war were bound to shake the society. In Kerala for the church it was a period of two schisms, originating from outside interventions. There was a tension on the basis of rites between Eastern Christian and Latin Christian communities. In order to safeguard the ancient tradition of apostolic origins the then Pope Leo XIII erected a separate Syro Malabar hierarchy in 1887 and 1896.
The life and activities of Mariam Thresia can be understood properly only in their social and religious background and historical setting. Her native state Cochin was under paramount of the imperial British Raj. The traditional caste system contributed its share of woes and sufferings especially among the outcastes. The landlords exploited the poor laborers keeping them in virtual slavery. Hindu widows were forced to immolate themselves on their husband’s funeral pyre. The call of Mariam Thresia was to humanize such a society and work for the betterment of the families. According to Pope John Paul II “In God’s plan family is in ways the first school of learning how to be human”? Hence God called, molded and commissioned a poor, illiterate girl with extra ordinary holiness and spiritual power for the revival of the families.
Kerala – Blessed by the Birth of Mariam Thresia
The tiny state of India, Kerala, is today well known because of the birth of Blessed Mariam Thresia, a poor village girl, frail in frame, indifferent in looks but of extraordinary spiritual power, who is finally on the way of sainthood.
She was born in Puthenchira village in Thrissur district. Puthenchira was earlier known Mahadevapattanam. In the second or third century perumakkan’s created a bund for the purpose of agriculture. The Cheran Perumal designated the place for building the chira by throwing puthen (the coin prevailing then). Since then it is believed that this place is called Puthenchira. Puthenchira was ruled by the king of Kodungallur after the Cheran dynasty fell in 9th century. In the 18th century when the Cochin king annexed the southern parts of the Zamorin Empire, Puthenchira became part of the Cochin kingdom. Later in 1761, when Samudiri attacked, the cochin king sought help from Travancore.Travancore obliged and defeated Samudiri in the battle. Delighted by this Cochin king gifted Puthenchira to Diwan Ayyappan. Marthanda Pillai who was the commander of the Travancore army, Diwan dedicated this to Travancore king. Until the Travancore Cochin merger in 1949, Puthenchira was a Travancore village.