When Thresia became twelve her mother Thanda was eager to marry her daughter off. She desperately tried to deck her with jewelries, since the marriage proposals had started to knock at her door. Thresia had already made a commitment of lifelong virginity when she was nine. Why did she do so in an early age?
In an instruction to her sisters St. Mariam Thresia said “If you want to love God with your whole heart, observe with great fidelity your life of Virginity.” Having sworn her virginity to God she had to pass through the pool of fire to keep it. Her Spiritual father writes in Diary’ that “to preserve this virtue, which she cherished exceedingly, she practiced strict modesty in her dress and in her general behavior, and custody of eyes”. It is also written that God permitted the devils to tempt her for fifteen days to commit sins against chastity. Thresia with a childlike sincerity told her temptations to her Spiritual father and followed his counsel, persevering in her prayers and penances all these while.
Though she was herself poor, she shared what she had and what she could obtain, with the poor and needy. She was born in poverty but she cherished it with great fervor for the sake of God’s glory. She shared her food, her time, and her talents with the less fortunate. Kochani, an orphan girl brought up in the convent like daughter by Mother Mariam Thresia, declares: “Mother showed great benevolence to the workers. When she brought sweet candy she used to give it to the workers and not eat it herself.” She used to say “When we have given away what God has given, God will give again”.
The attractions of the world made no impact on her. She lived a very simple and poor life. She was sparing in the use of things and was very frugal in her lifestyle. It is written that “She practiced great detachment in all things,”Similarly, she insisted that even a thread used for stitching was not to be wasted in undoing the stitching.
She was loyal and submissive to its authorities and teachings of the church. An event speaks her loyalty is chronicled thus ‘…During the floods when all the other proceeded to harvest the standing crops on a Sunday to save them from the threatening waters, St. Mariam Thresia did not permit her workers to work saying that the sacredness of the Sunday had to be kept up in spite of the possibility of losing the crop. She took great care to avoid journeys on Sundays.
Earlier, on 24 October 1905, Bishop Menachery had decided what she should or should not eat. “She was asked to take the rice soup (kanji) when she was not able to take it. Still she obeyed it”. He also forbade her to receive Holy Communion daily and restricted it to once a week. Unable to understand the mysterious experiences occurring in the life of Mariam Thresia often she was regulated with suspicion. For Thresia, she obeyed every ordinances with utmost obedience as to the will of God. Her enduring patience, humility, and obedience gradually banished all his doubts and hesitations to bestowing his paternal blessing at his death bed.
Mariam Thresia often used the expression “if God is God” this heart felt expression even in the most difficult junctures speaks of her deep faith in God coupled with unfailing hope.
During the First World war while severe famine spread all over everywhere, Mother Mariam Thresia had to meet not only the food for her sisters, and orphans also the educational expenses of boarders and students. Her trust in God’s providential care helped her meet every challenge in front. With such daring hope she established three convents, two schools, and one orphanage during these short period.
Her self-sacrificing charity and her heroic courage, directed her to be at the service to the poor, visit the sick, help the dying, pray for the souls in purgatory, work for the conversions of sinners.
To love God she drew herself closer to people and to serve the mankind she brought down heaven among them. Indeed God was so pleased with her passionate desire to love God and He planted in her such virtues and graces able to storm heaven to bestow blessings and graces down on earth. It was a rough road of sanctity for St. Mariam Thresia but obedience and submission to will of God came though human authority benefited her greatly to attain the Crown of holy and virtuous life.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran Chf