Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church on Sunday (October 13) declared Sister Mariam Thresia from Kerala a saint. Thresia is the fourth person from the state to be canonized as a saint by the pope.
Pope Francis headed the Holy Mass at St. Peter’s Square. Hundreds of people were gathered at the square and chanting hymns. The pope addressed the gathering at St. Peter’s Square after the Holy Mass and thanked them for coming to witness the canonization of the five saints.
He also spoke about the current scenario in Syria and the decline in their population. He appealed to the people of Syria who were involved in the civil war, and to the international community in general, to “struggle with sincerity” and “search for a useful solution” for their current crisis.
Ahead of the canonisation of Sister Mariam Thresia by Pope Francis on Sunday, believers made a beeline to her tomb in Kerala’s Thrissur district to pay their respects. She will be the fourth from Kerala to be canonised after Saint Alphonsa (1986 ), Sister Rani Maria (2003 ), Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (2014), Saint Euphrasia (2014).
The Kerala nun was canonised along with John Henry Newman from England, Italy’s Josephine Vannini, Swiss Marguerite Bays and Brazilian Irm Dulce Pontes.
At her tomb at the Mariam Thresia pilgrim centre at Kuzhikkatussery in Kerala, sisters and parishioners prayed the rosary along with the Divine Mercy chaplet after the announcement was made by the Vatican, reported Vatican News.
Special prayers and masses were held in all the Catholic churches across Kerala to mark the occasion.
Kerala: Mass being held at St Joseph’s Cathedral Church in Trivandrum to celebrate the canonisation of Mother Mariam Thresia, today. Pope Francis will declare Mother Mariam Thresia – who founded the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family,a saint today at a ceremony in Vatican pic.twitter.com/E39vVd8kCZ
— ANI (@ANI) October 13, 2019
A delegation from Kerala was in the Vatican to witness the event, and minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan represented the country. According to Hindustan Times, Cardinal Mar George Alancherry, the senior-most cardinal of the country, in his message from Vatican said, “The stage is set and the Pope will begin the function with a prayer at 1:30 pm India time. It is a proud moment for the country and believers. It is an occasion for us to uphold values taught by our beloved Mother.”
Mariam Thresia was called during the first half of her life as Thresia, the name given to her at baptism on May 3, 1876. Since 1904, she wanted to be called Mariam Thresia as she believed that she was asked to add “Mariam” to her name by Virgin Mary in a vision. And it was as Mariam Thresia that she was professed in 1914, the foundress and first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family.
“In imitation of Jesus, she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her parish. She was also blessed with the stigmata but kept it secret to avoid attention. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, an aura of light, sweet odour and frequently had ecstasies and levitations. Her entire existence was tormented by demons and she offered her sufferings for the remission of the sins of the world,” the Vatican News said.
Sister Thresia died on June 8, 1926 at the age of 50 and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on April 9, 2000. Pope Francis on February 12 authorised a decree recognising a miracle through her intercession, which cleared her for sainthood, and on July 1, the Pope decided on October 13, as the canonisation day.