Like Job in the Old Testament, Mother Mariam Thresia of Puthenchira, was tested and proved her virtues carefully. Her History records that the devils in tens, thousands and ten thousands, tested her for three years with the permission of God from 23 January 1902 to 8 December 1904. The hell tried desperately to destroy her hope and trust in God, to accuse her before God.
We read from the accounts of ‘Diary’ by Rev. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil, (her spiritual director) that she was severely tortured by evil forces,at times they inflicted her more than permitted by God. The tempters tried to convince her that God had abandoned her. They often said “God is not pleased with your acts of virtue so do not do them again. They tried over and again to convince her saying “You need not to obey your confessor; you must renounce God and your spiritual father!Only then you will be at ease” Sometimes they made her feel disgusted with her acts of penance and tried to make her give up all hope. But Mariam Thresia was firm that “I am an unworthy sinner if so God should win it”.
In the midst of intense suffering she had to face severe trails against the virtue of hope and chastity. As directed by Bl. Mother, her spiritual father used to go to her house every day and advise her to abandon herself to the will of God. Rev. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil, records that most of the time she used to hold the crucifix in her hand and utter the holy name of Jesus and Mary. Her letters to the spiritual father shows her terms of sure confidence in God: “Although God sends me sorrows and afflictions, I am not worried.” When it was too long and too severe her spiritual Father used to command the hell to stay away for few hours, to strengthen her in God.
Some of the letters written to her spiritual Father sounds that it is she who imparted confidence to her spiritual father. She wrote “When we are afflicted with grief and sorrow, we must have a special trust in God,” again she writes. “I trust that God is God. Father if you feel worried or afraid for any reason, please drive away such feelings immediately in the name of God. Our God is our Hope.”
Mariam Thresia’s firmness failed the effort of the devils making them more and more furious upon her. Sometimes they would cut off her hands and neck leaving it in a different location. They tied her whole body with ropes,wrapped her in a mat and put her on the ceiling of the house, buried her in grain barns, threw her down from the roof, suffocated her placing heavy objects on her body, filled her food with filth, cast her eye with chilly, threw stones at her, blinded her, hit her until she was bleeding all over, thrashed her with thorny bushes, and left her hungry for days. They did everything they could to torture her and subdue her. Besides the physical torture they tried to confuse her with virtue and knowledge, lift her hope and trust with soft talks, reasoning, arguing and threats all the way they could. They disguised themselves as heavenly beings or as the spiritual father to direct her away from good, but she did not once fell prey to their mental or physical tortures and temptations.
The devils wanted to make her defenseless pleading with God to end the support of Bl. Mother claiming that it was because of the Bl. Virgin’ help she was unyielding towards them. By now Mariam Thresia had become the talk of the town as possessed due to the extra ordinary phenomena’s happening in her. An order of exorcism from the Bishop had flamed rumors all over. As the turbulent sea is calm beneath, she rested in serenity and tranquility. She said “if God is God, why a sinner be anxious, I trust in God”.
On 15 Aug 1904 Bl. Virgin Mother revealed Fr. Joseph that the period of trails permitted by God for three years would end by 23 Jan 1905 and that many things would happen through her. When this was told to Rev. Bishop, he suggested to pray to reduce the period yet again, demanding a sign from heaven. Bl. Virgin granted this favor and revealed that her trials would end by Dec 8 1904. Mariam Thresia who wanted always the full share of Christ’s passion, the trials temptations were another lovely chance to confirm her readiness. She loved every humiliation and torture cherishing them as participating in Christ’s sufferings ; Calvary or wilderness she was eager to go through, because Christ had undergone them both.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran Chf