St. Mariam Thresia, The Foundress of the Congregation of Holy Family, widely known as the Patroness for Families was declared a saint by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square on October 13 this year. The nun from Thrissur Chiramal Mankidiyan Family was canonized during a Mass along with John Henry Newman from England, Italian Josephine Vannini, Swiss Marguerite Bays, and Brazilian Irm Dulce Pontes.
The Holy Father made the announcement on 1 July in the Ordinary Public Consistory of Cardinals on causes of canonization at the Vatican.“It’s a happy moment not only for the Sisters of the Holy Family but for all believers, the Indian church and universe at large. From the age of three Chiramal Mankidiyan Thresia’s attraction was the Crucified lover. She willingly emptied the cup of suffering to the bottom with great joy. She bore them gracefully and converted them as channels of grace thus extending the history of salvation through herself. The powers of hell and earth tested her virtues. She had to undergo torments in body and mind and spirit.
Neither the attraction of the world or any super human powers affected her metal spirit of pledge to God’s will as an ‘Apostle of Compassionate love for families’ after the Model of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She emerged as the humble vessel of great value in her passionate renunciation of the world to follow Christ on His way of the Cross,thus glorified the power of God at work in her.
We hail the virtues of Bl. Mariam Thresia for swimming through the bottomless currents of suffering holding fast to the cross of Christ similarly for keenness to immerse deep into the furnace of purification to emerge victorious for Christ. She did take the challenges to win over the world, and herself for Christ’s sake.
The Indian church proudly welcomed the sainthood of its first stigmatic. She requested for the cross of Christ and the full share of His suffering and Jesus granted her in her young age. When she was 33 Jesus she was given the stigmata in visible form which remained till her death.
Mariam Thresia was the delighted choice of heaven to pioneer the ‘apostolate for families’, with the charism of Compassionate love. The heaven bestowed her with the prophetic vision of building the church through the up building of families. The constant recourse to the Holy Family of Nazareth throughout her life, served her with the perfect model of the Trinitarian communion to be established in the families
Mariam Thresia was the first religious women who had lived an active and contemplative spirituality in the late 18th Century Kerala. God allowed her through every spiritual realm of grace and mystical experience. Diving deep into the Compassionate heart of God she beheld His thirst for souls. And so she emerged as an ‘angel of compassion’ to the sinners and dying, to the orphans and destitute making the families as the platform of her actions. God’s Holy Spirit led her to see the signs of the time and directed her steps in accordance with the wisdom of heaven.
The Vatican had earlier declared three Kerala-born Indian Catholics as Saints. While Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia, who also belongs to Thrissur, were canonised into the league of saints by Pope Francis in 2014, Sr. Alphonsa was declared a saint in 2008.
A National Thanksgiving function was organised at the Diocesan and Congregation level held in St. Mariam Thresia Shrine, Kuzhikkatussery on November 16, 2019. Cardinals and Bishops, Priests and religious, devotees , civil and political leaders, religious representatives from all creed and faith and languages across the nation participated the glamorous event. The event was witnessed by over 30 thousand gathered in the Pilgrim Center. St. Mariam Thresia’s devoted life of holiness and heroic virtues were declared to the whole world through different channels and social media. The many millions around the globe can reach out the powerful intercession of the mystic saint of Kerala.
Sr. Udaya Kallukaran Chf