It looks really strange, for someone to begin an austere life at an age of five. Mariam Thresia from her infancy had longed to quench the thirst of Jesus from the cross. Therefore she put every effort into it. She followed a rigorous style of life and did everything focused on souls. Long hours of meditation and prayer, severe acts of penance and mortifications, well-disciplined and detached life,interior silence and deep contemplation ect… all these graduallyenriched her in her spiritual journey.
St. Mariam Thresia spent her day in prayer and nights in vigils. Though it seemed to outside,a very ordinary life, Thresia grew deeper in the practice of virtues as she grew in age; she mortified her body and disciplined her spirit, chose to live a life of complete self -denial, intensified her life of prayer and penance, fasted on several days and abstained from meat, kept sleepless vigils kneeling on gruel her hands out stretched, spread pebbles below her mat and hid thorns in the pillow, slighted ornaments and would do nothing to improve her looks as teenagers did.
God allowed her to undergo lots of hurdles from her own family and relatives. Her family seriously tried to discipline her, the society warned her by its regulations and consequences, the church authorities scrutinized her every move, besides the armies of hell tormented her and tested her severely. As gold tested in the furnace she become more and more refined and strengthened through such travails. Because they were channels to draw the grace of God in to her life. She endured every struggle with the power of God and she acquired it by a severe life of austerity from the start.
Since many extra ordinary events were happening in her life she felt the need of an able spiritual director who can understand and guide her. By the providence of God, at the age of 26 in 1902, she chose Fr. Joseph Vithayathil, a highly spiritual and reliable person as her spiritual guide. He played a unique and decisive role in the life of Thresia for 24 years, since 1902 till 1926. Thresia communed him everything: her plans, her aspirations, visions, revelations, extraordinary experiences, doubts, perplexities, temptations, trials, struggles, and the diabolic attacks. She followed closely the guidance of her spiritual father, to guard against the danger of being misled by the evil one.
Fr. Joseph vihayathil was a witness and prudent intermediary between her and Bishop John Menachery, to all extraordinary experiences. He kept a diary recording regularly and faithfully what was conveyed to him by Thresia and what he had witnessed in her spiritual journey.
She was contemplative and active at the same time, unlike the enclosed lifestyle of religious at that period. Mariam Thresia had transformed her cloister to a shelter home for the destitute. And she went down crossing the social barriers to serve the poor and needy in their families.
The deep intimacy with Christ had by now transformed her to be a great mystic like her name saint St. Theresa of Avila. She identified herself body and soul to Christ on the cross and emerged as the first stigmatic of India.
Gradually the society that criticized her unconventional manners acknowledged her as the angel of the whole village. The parishioners built a house of prayer, which later turned out to be the mother house. Her life as a fiery furnace heated thousand times held a rain of snow in its heart; the intimacy with Christ. She remained constantly in the state of grace to save souls for Christ thus trying to quench the thirst of Jesus. She also had to undergo severe trials by the hell, which she battled courageously and won against Lucifer. She is the first mystic and stigmatic saint of India.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran