Monday, May 30, 2011


 Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)


Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Born October 4, 1922 Magenta, Italy
Died April 28, 1962 Monza, Italy

Beatified April 24, 1994 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II
Feast April 28
Patronage mothers, physicians, preborn children

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922. Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.

She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).

“Conscious immolation», was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family.



Sixth Sunday of Easter, 16 May 2004

1. "Peace I leave with you" (Jn 14: 27). During the Easter season, we frequently hear this promise of Jesus to his disciples. True peace is the fruit of Christ's victory over the power of evil, sin and death. Those who follow him faithfully become witnesses and builders of his peace.

It is in this light that I wish to contemplate the six new Saints, offered to us today by the Church for universal veneration: Luigi Orione, Hannibal Mary Di Francia, José Manyanet y Vives, Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, Paola Elisabetta Cerioli, Gianna Beretta Molla.

2. "Men who have risked their lives for the sake of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15: 26). These words taken from the Acts of the Apostles can be well-applied to St Luigi Orione, a man who gave himself entirely for the cause of Christ and his Kingdom. Physical and moral sufferings, fatigue, difficulty, misunderstandings and all kinds of obstacles characterized his apostolic ministry. "Christ, the Church, souls", he would say, "are loved and served on the cross and through crucifixion or they are not loved and served at all" (Writings, 68, 81).

The heart of this strategy of charity was "without limits because it was opened wide by the charity of Christ" (ibid., 102, 32). Passion for Christ was the soul of his bold life, the interior thrust of an altruism without reservations, the always fresh source of an indestructible hope.

This humble son of a man who repaired roads proclaimed that "only charity will save the world" (ibid., 62, 13), and to everyone he would often say that "perfect joy can only be found in perfect dedication of oneself to God and man, and to all mankind" (ibid.).

3. "Whoever loves me will keep my word" (Jn 14: 23). In these words of the Gospel we see illustrated the spiritual profile of Hannibal Mary Di Francia, whose love for the Lord moved him to dedicate his entire life to the spiritual well-being of others. In this perspective, he felt above all the urgency to carry out the Gospel command: "Rogate ergo... Pray then to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!" (Mt 9: 38).

He left to the Rogationist Fathers and the Daughters of Divine Zeal the task to do their utmost with all their strength so that prayer for vocations would be "unceasing and universal". This same call of Fr Hannibal Mary Di Francia is directed to the young people of our times, summed up in his usual exhortation: "Fall in love with Jesus Christ".

From this providential intuition, a great movement of prayer for vocations rose up within the Church. I hope with all my heart that the example of Fr Hannibal Mary Di Francia will guide and sustain such pastoral work even in our times.

4. "The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (Jn 14: 26). From the beginning, the Holy Spirit has brought forth men and women who have remembered and spread the truth revealed by Jesus. One of these was St José Manyanet, a true apostle of the family. Inspired by the school of Nazareth, he carried out his plan of personal sanctity and heroically devoted himself to the mission that the Spirit entrusted to him. He founded two religious congregations. A visible symbol of his apostolic zeal is also the temple of the Holy Family of Barcelona.

May St José Manyanet bless all families and help them follow the example of the Holy Family in their homes!

5. A man of prayer, in love with the Eucharist which he adored for long periods, St Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini is an example for the monks of the Order of Lebanese Maronites as he is for his Lebanese brothers and sisters and all Christians of the world. He gave himself completely to the Lord in a life full of great sacrifices, showing that God's love is the only true source of joy and happiness for man. He committed himself to searching for and following Christ, his Master and Lord.

Welcoming his brothers, he reassured and healed many wounds in the hearts of his contemporaries, witnessing to God's mercy. May his example enlighten our journey and bring forth, especially in young people, a true desire for God and for holiness to proclaim to our world the light of the Gospel!

6. "The Angel... showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven" (Rv 21: 10). This marvellous image in the Apocalypse of John exalts the beauty and spiritual fruitfulness of the Church, the new Jerusalem. A unique witness to this spiritual fruitfulness is Paola Elisabetta Cerioli, whose life was full of good fruits.

Contemplating the Holy Family, Paola Elisabetta understood that families remain strong when the bonds among their members are sustained and kept together by sharing the values of faith and a Christian way of life. To spread these values, the new Saint founded the Institute of the Holy Family. She was convinced that in order for children to grow up sure of themselves and strong, they needed a family that was healthy and united, generous and stable. May God help Christian families to welcome and witness in every situation to the love of the merciful God.

7. Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love. In a letter to her future husband a few days before their marriage, she wrote: "Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women".

Following the example of Christ, who "having loved his own... loved them to the end" (Jn 13: 1), this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfil themselves.

Through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, may our age rediscover the pure, chaste and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response to the divine call!

8. "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid" (Jn 14: 28). The earthly events of these six new Saints spur us to persevere on our own journey, confiding in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From Heaven, may they now watch over us and support us with their powerful intercession.



Born February 10, 1805(1805-02-10) Kainakary,
Died January 3, 1871(1871-01-03) (aged 65)
Koonamavu, KOCHI
Beatified February 8, 1986, Mannannam by Pope John Paul II
Feast January 3
Canonized 23 November 2014, Rome by Pope Francis

Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara was the co-founder and first prior-general of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) and of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel.
Blessed Kuriakose Chavara was born on February 10, 1805, at Kainakary, Kerala, India. His parents were Iko (Kuriakose) and Mariam Thoppil. He was baptized on February 17, 1805, at Chennamkary Parish Church in Alappuzha. He attended the village school under the guidance of a Hindu teacher. There he studied language and elementary sciences. He entered the seminary in 1818 in Pallipuram where Palackal Thoma Malpan was the Rector. He was ordained on November 29, 1829, at Arthunkal and first celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Chennamkary Church.
The congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.) was started by Palackal Thoma Malpan, Thomas Porukara and the Blessed Chavara. The foundation for the first monastery at Mannanam was laid on May 11, 1831. Palackal Malpan and Father Thomas Porukara died in 1841 and 1846, respectively.
Blessed Kuriakose of Chavara became Prior General of the Congregation in 1855. He became Vicar-general for the Syro-Malabar Church in 1861.  He worked to renew the faith in the church. He was a man of prayer with a devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary.
He died on January 3, 1871, aged 65, at Koonammavu of natural causes.
He was beatified, along with Saint Alphonsa on February 8, 1986, by Pope John Paul II . His memorial is celebrated on January 3.

Nahru Stadium of Kottayam
Saturday, 8 February 1986

"I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth".
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. These are the words of Jesus of Nazareth, and he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit when he uttered them. How full of meaning they are for us today!
"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to the little ones" .
What things has the Lord hidden? What mysteries has he revealed? Truly the deepest ones, the mysteries of his own divine life, those known here on earth only by him, only by Christ himself. For he says: "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" .
And behold, the Son does reveal these things. At the same time he reveals the Father. The Father is revealed through the Son. And to whom does the Son reveal these things? He reveals them to those whom he chooses: "for such was your gracious will", Jesus tells the Father. He reveals these things to the little ones.
2. Today, in this Sacred Liturgy, we wish to unite ourselves in a special way with Christ the Lord. Together with him we wish to bless the Father, for the particular love which he has shown to a son and daughter of the Church in India. We praise the Father for his countless blessings during the two thousand years that the Church has existed on Indian soil. With Christ we glorify the Father for the love that he has shown to the little ones of Kerala and all India.
The Church throughout the world rejoices with the Church in India as Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception are raised to the ranks of the Blessed in the great Communion of Saints. This man and this woman, both members of the Syro-Malabar Church here in Kerala, advanced to great heights of holiness through their wholehearted co-operation with the grace of God. Each possessed an ardent love of God, yet each followed a distinct spiritual path.
3. Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born here in Kerala, and for nearly all of his sixty-five years of earthly life he laboured generously for the renewal and enrichment of the Christian life. His deep love for Christ filled him with apostolic zeal and made him especially careful to promote the unity of the Church. With great generosity he collaborated with others, especially brother priests and religious, in the work of salvation.
In co-operation with Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, Father Kuriakose founded an Indian religious congregation for men, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Later, with the help of an Italian missionary, Father Leopold Beccaro, he started an Indian religious congregation for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. These congregations grew and flourished, and religious vocations became better understood and appreciated. Through the common efforts of the members of new religious families, his hopes and works were multiplied many times over.
Father Kuriakose’s life, and the lives of these new religious, were dedicated to the service of the Syro-Malabar Church. Under his leadership or inspiration, a good number of apostolic initiatives were undertaken: the establishment of seminaries for the education and formation of the clergy, the introduction of annual retreats, a publishing house for Catholic works, a house to care for the destitute and dying, schools for general education and programmes for the training of catechumens. He contributed to the Syro-Malabar liturgy and spread devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Family. In particular, he dedicated himself to encouraging and counselling Christian families, convinced as he was of the fundamental role of the family in the life of society and the Church.
But no apostolic cause was dearer to the heart of this great man of faith than that of the unity and harmony within the Church. It was as if he had always before his mind the prayer of Jesus, on the night before his Sacrifice on the Cross: "That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us" . Today the Church solemnly recalls with love and gratitude all his efforts to resist threats of disunity and to encourage the clergy and faithful to maintain unity with the See of Peter and the universal Church. His success in this, as in all his many undertakings, was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which characterised his daily life, his close communion with Christ and his love for the Church as the visible Body of Christ on earth.
4. Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, born a century after Father Kuriakose Elias, would gladly have served the Lord with similar apostolic projects. And indeed, she possessed a personal devotion to Father Kuriakose from early in her religious life. But the path to holiness for Sister Alphonsa was clearly a different one. It was the way of the Cross, the way of sickness and suffering.
Already at a very young age, Sister Alphonsa desired to serve the Lord as a religious, but it was not without enduring trials that she was finally able to pursue this goal. When it became possible, she joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation. Throughout her life, which was a brief thirty-six years, she continually gave thanks to God for the joy and privilege of her religious vocation, for the grace of her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
From early in her life, Sister Alphonsa experienced great suffering. With the passing of the years, the heavenly Father gave her an ever fuller share in the Passion of his beloved Son. We recall how she experienced not only physical pain of great intensity, but also the spiritual suffering of being misunderstood and misjudged by others. But she constantly accepted all her sufferings with serenity and trust in God, being firmly convinced that they would purify her motives, help her to overcome all selfishness, and unite her more closely with her beloved divine Spouse. She wrote to her spiritual director: "Dear Father, as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this, but anything else besides, even to the end of the world. I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering" (20 November 1944). She came to love suffering because she loved the suffering Christ. She learned to love the Cross through her love of the crucified Lord.
Sister Alphonsa knew that by her sufferings she shared in the Church’s apostolate; she found joy in them by offering them all to Christ. In this way, she seemed to have made her own the words of Saint Paul: "I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" . She was endowed by God with an affectionate and happy disposition, with the ability to take delight in ordinary and simple things. The weight of human suffering, even the misunderstanding or jealousy of others, could not extinguish the joy of the Lord which filled her heart. In a letter written shortly before she died, at time of intense physical and mental suffering, she said: "I have given myself up completely to Jesus. Let him please himself in his dealings with me. My only desire in this world is to suffer for love of God and to rejoice in doing it" (February 1946).
5. Both Father Kuriakose and Sister Alphonsa bear witness to the beauty and greatness of the religious vocation. And I would like to take this occasion to direct my thoughts particularly to the men and women religious who are present here and to all the religious in India.
Every one who has been baptised into Christ has discovered a pearl of "great value" and a "treasure" worth all that one has in life . For all the baptised share in the very life of the Blessed Trinity and are called to be "light" and "salt" for the world . But within the great family of the Church, God our Father calls some of you to follow Christ still more closely and to dedicate your lives with a special consecration through the profession of chastity, poverty and obedience. You, the religious of the Church, bear public witness to the Gospel and to the primacy of the love of God. By a permanent commitment and lifelong fidelity to your vows, you seek to grow in union with Christ and to contribute in a unique way to the life and mission of the Church. And what a vital contribution is yours!
In a rich variety of forms, you live to the full your evangelical consecration. Some of you have heard the Lord’s personal call to the contemplative life where, though hidden from the world, you offer your lives and prayers for the sake of all humanity. Others have been called to an active apostolic life, where you serve in teaching, health care, parochial work, retreats, works of charity and many forms of pastoral activity.
No matter how you serve, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, never doubt the value of your consecrated life. Whether your service resembles the great apostolic endeavours of Father Kuriakose, or takes the form of hidden suffering like Sister Alphonsa, whatever it may be, it is important in the life of the Church. Remember the words of Saint Paul, in today’s second reading, "we know that in everything God works for good" . Even when you feel discouraged or weighed down by personal failures or sin, trust even more in the love of God for you. Turn to him for mercy, forgiveness and love. For as Saint Paul says in the same reading: "the Lord helps us in our weakness" . It is in him that we End our strength, our courage and our joy.
Without the vital contribution of men and women religious, the charity of the Church would be lessened, her fruitfulness would be diminished. Thus, I pray that the beatification of these two exemplary religious of India will give you renewed zeal for your precious vocation. In your own love for Christ may you be inspired by their fervour. And like them, may you keep the simplicity of the "little ones" of the Gospel. Be pure of heart and filled with compassion. Be always eager to please the Lord. For it is to the little ones that the mysteries of God are revealed .
6. And now, I wish to greet all who have come to Kottayam for this celebration. I greet my brother bishops and all the clergy and faithful who have come from the other dioceses of Kerala. With respect and esteem I thank all the other fellow Christians as well as our Hindu and Muslim brethren and the followers of other religions who honour me today by being here. I am grateful for the presence of the civil authorities and I invoke upon all the people the blessings of joy and peace.
Truly extraordinary is this day in the history of the Church and Christianity on Indian soil. It is important, too, in the history of the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter. It is the first time that he has had the joy or raising to the glory of the altars a son and a daughter of the Church in India, in their native land.
Therefore we sing together with the Psalmist in today’s Liturgy. Together we give thanks:
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord
to make music to your name, O Most High;
Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad;
for the work of your hands I shout with joy.
O Lord, how great are your works!" .
Truly great are the works of God! And the greatest work of God on earth is man. The glory of God is man fully alive with the life of God. The glory of God is the holiness of each person and of the whole Church.
Holiness is the work of divine grace. When we proclaim it solemnly in the midst of the People of God in this land, we give glory to the Most High. In the words of Saint Augustine we praise God, saying: "In crowning merits, you are crowning your own gifts".
7. Truly extraordinary is this day! The Prophet Isaiah says: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" .
Today it is given to us to penetrate more deeply into these divine thoughts. It is given to us to know better the divine ways.
And behold, what ways! What ways!
The Apostle writes: "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified" .
These are the divine thoughts.
These are the divine ways.
Today it is given to us to see how these thoughts are accomplished in Blessed Kuriakose Elias and Blessed Sister Alphonsa. Today we see how these ways of God lead through their hearts, through their earthly pilgrimages, to the glory of the altars.
8. "Father, it is true", Jesus says, "you have graciously willed it so" .
And he continues: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" .
Jesus speaks in this way. And he speaks to everyone. We are called to holiness. We are all called to communion with him: with his Heart, with his Cross, with his glory.
Jesus speaks in this way. And together with Jesus so do Blessed Kuriakose and Blessed Alphonsa. Their hearts are united with the Heart of the Divine Redeemer and are filled with love for all the sons and daughters of your blessed land. Amen.


Sunday, May 29, 2011


Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception (1910-1946)
Born 19 August 1910(1910-08-19)Kudamaloor, Arpookara,
Died 28 July 1946(1946-07-28) (aged 35)Bharananganam, Palai,

Beatified 8 February 1986, Kottayam by Pope John Paul II
Canonized 12 October 2008, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI
Major shrine Saint Alphonsama Church, Bharananganam, Kerala, India.
Feast 28 July
Patronage against illness
SAINT ALPHONSA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION was born in Kudamalur, the Arpookara region, in the diocese of Changanacherry, India, on the 19th of August 1910, of the ancient and noble family of Muttathupadathu.
From her birth, the life of the Blessed was marked by the cross, which would be progressively revealed to her as the royal way to conform herself to Christ. Her mother, Maria Puthukari, gave birth to her prematurely, in her eight month of pregnancy, as a result of a fright she received when, during the sleep, a snake wrapped itself around her waist. Eight days later, the 28 of August, the child was baptised according to the Syro-Malabar rite by the Fr. Joseph Chackalayil, and she received the name Annakutty, a diminutive of Anne. She was the last of five children.
Her mother died three months later. Annakutty passed her early infancy in the home of her grandparents in Elumparambil. There she lived a particularly happy time because of her human and Christian formation, during which the first seeds of a vocation flowered. Her grand-mother, a pious and charitable woman, communicated the joy of the faith, love for prayer and a surge of charity towards the poor to her. At five years of age the child already knew how to lead, with a totally childish enthusiasm, the evening prayer of the family gathered, in accordance with the Syro-Malabar custom, in the "prayer room".
Annakutty received the Eucharistic bread for the first time on the 11 of November 1917. She used to say to her friends: "
Do you know why I am so particularly happy today? It is because I have Jesus in my heart!". In a letter to her spiritual father, on the 30 of November 1943, she confided the following: "Already from the age of seven I was no longer mine. I was totally dedicated to my divine Spouse. Your reverence knows it well"."My marriage was arranged when I was thirteen years old. What had I to do to avoid it? I prayed all that night... then an idea came tome. If my body were a little disfigured no one would want me! ... O, how I suffered! I offered all for my great intention"."O, the vocation which I received! A gift of my good God!.... God saw the pain of my soul in those days. God distanced the difficulties and established me in this religious state"."I do not wish to act or speak according to my inclinations. Every time I fail, I will do penance... I want to be careful never to reject anyone. I will only speak sweet words to others. I want to control my eyes with rigour. I will ask pardon of the Lord for every little failure and I will atone for it through penance. No matter what my sufferings may be, I will never complain and if I have to undergo any humiliation, I will seek refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus"."I made my perpetual profession on the 12th of August 1936 and came here to Bharanganam on the following 14th. From that time, it seems, I was entrusted with a part of the cross of Christ. There are abundant occasions of suffering... I have a great desire to suffer with joy. It seems that my Spouse wishes to fulfil this desire".I feel that the Lord has destined me to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering... I consider a day in which I have not suffered as a day lost to me".


In the same year of 1917 she began to attend the elementary school of Thonnankuzhy, where she also established a sincere friendship with the Hindu children. When the first school cycle ended in 1920, the time had come to transfer to Muttuchira, to the house of her aunt Anna Murickal, to whom her mother, before she died, had entrusted her as her adoptive mother.
Her aunt was a severe and demanding woman, at times despotic and violent in demanding obedience from Annakutty in her every minimal disposition or desire. Assiduous in her religious practice, she accompanied her niece, but did not share the young girl’s friendship with the Carmelites of the close-by Monastery or her long periods of prayer at the foot of the altar. She was, in fact, determined to procure an advantageous marriage for Annakutty, obstructing the clear signs of her religious vocation.
The virtue of the Blessed was manifested in accepting this severe and rigid education as a path of humility and patience for the love of Christ, and tenaciously resisted the reiterated attempts at engagement to which the aunt tried to oblige her. Annakutty, in order to get out from under a commitment to marriage, reached the point of voluntarily causing herself a grave burn by putting her foot into a heap of burning embers.
The proposal to defile her singular beauty did not fully succeed in freeing her from the attentions of suitors. During the following years the Blessed had to defend her vocation, even during the year of probation when an attempt to give her in marriage, with the complicity of the Mistress of Formation herself, was made.
It was Fr. James Muricken, her confessor, who directed her towards Franciscan spirituality and put her in contact with the Congregation of the Franciscan Clarists. Annakutty entered their college in Bharananganam in the diocese of Palai, to attend seventh class, as an intern student, on the 24th of May 1927. The following year, on the 2nd of August 1928, Annakutty began her postulancy, taking the name of Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception in honour of St. Alphonsus Liguori, whose feast it was that day. She was clothed in the religious habit on the 19th of May 1930, during the first pastoral visit made to Bharananganam by the Bishop, Msgr. James Kalacherry.
The period 1930-1935 was characterised by grave illness and moral suffering. She could teach the children in the school at Vakakkad only during the scholastic year 1932. Then, because of her weakness, she carried out the duties of assistant-teacher and catechist in the parish. She was engaged also as secretary, especially to write official letters because of her beautiful script.
The canonical novitiate was introduced into the Congregation of the Franciscan Clarists in 1934. Though wishing to enter immediately, the Blessed was only admitted on the 12th of August 1935 because of her ill health. About one week after the beginning of her novitiate, she had a haemorrhage from the nose and eyes and a profound organic wasting and purulent wounds on her legs. The illness deteriorated, to such a point that the worst was feared.
Heaven came to the rescue of the holy novice. During a novena to The Servant of God Fr. Kuriakose Elia Chavara - a Carmelite who today is a Blessed—she wasmiraculously and instantaneously cured.
Having restarted her novitiate, she wrote the following proposals in her spiritual diary:
The 12th of August 1936, the feast of St. Clare, the day of her perpetual profession, was a day of inexpressible spiritual joy. She had realised her desire, guarded for a long time in her heart and confided to her sister Elizabeth when she was only 12 years old: "Jesus is my only Spouse, and none other".
Jesus, however, wished to lead His spouse to perfection through a life of suffering.
Painful illnesses followed each other: typhoid fever, double pneumonia, and, the most serious of all, a dramatic nervous shock, the result of a fright on seeing a thief during the night of the 18th of October 1940. Her state of psychic incapacity lasted for about a year, during which she was unable to read or write.
In every situation, Sister Alphonsa always maintained a great reservation and charitable attitude towards the Sisters, silently undergoing her sufferings. In 1945 she had a violent outbreak of illness. A tumour, which had spread throughout her organs, transformed her final year of life into a continuous agony. Gastroenteritis and liver problems caused violent convulsions and vomiting up to forty times a day: "
With this attitude of a victim for the love of the Lord, happy until the final moment and with a smile of innocence always on her lips, Sister Alphonsa quietly and joyfully brought her earthly journey to a close in the convent of the Franciscan Clarists at Bharananganam at 12.30 on the 28th July 1946, leaving behind the memory of a Sister full of love and a saint.
Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception Muttathupadathu was proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II in Kottayam, India, on the 8th of February 1986.
With today’s Canonisation, the Church in India presents its first Saint to the veneration of the faithful of the whole world. Faithful from every part of the world have come together in a single act of thanksgiving to God in her name and in a sign of the great oriental and western traditions, Roman and Malabar, which Sr. Alphonsa lived and harmonised in her saintly life.On Sunday, 12 October 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced her canonization at a ceremony at Saint Peter's Square.CanonisationPope Benedict XVI cleared Sister Alphonsa's name for canonisation on 1 June 2007, a process that was started 55 years ago. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1986 in Kottayam, 40 years after her death, in recognition of the numerous miracles through intercessory prayers to her.

In the homily, Pope Benedict XVI recalled Saint Alphonsa's life as one of "extreme physical and spiritual suffering."
"This exceptional woman ... was convinced that her cross was the very means of reaching the heavenly banquet prepared for her by the Father", the pope stated. "By accepting the invitation to the wedding feast, and by adorning herself with the garment of God's grace through prayer and penance, she conformed her life to Christ's and now delights in the 'rich fare and choice wines' of the heavenly kingdom."
"(Her) heroic virtues of patience, fortitude and perseverance in the midst of deep suffering remind us that God always provides the strength we need to overcome every trial", the pope stated before the ceremony ended



Agostino Thevarparampil, "Kunjachan" (1891-1973)

Thevarparampil Kunjachan fu un umile sacerdote che si spese per i fratelli Dalit, emarginati dalla società. Era noto solo nel suo luogo di nascita e nei dintorni. Servì come assistente in parrocchia per 47 anni. Sebbene il suo vero nome fosse Agostino, tutti lo chiamavano Kunjachan perché non era alto. Nacque il 1° aprile 1891 a Ramapuram nella famiglia Thevarparampil. Era il più giovane di cinque figli. Dopo la scuola elementare, completò la sua formazione sacerdotale nel seminario minore di Changacherry e in quello di Puthenpally. Il 17 dicembre 1921 ricevette l'ordinazione sacerdotale da Mar Thomas Kurianacherry. Operò come assistente parrocchiale a Ramapuram per un anno e a Kadanad per tre anni. In seguito, a motivo della salute cagionevole, tornò nella sua parrocchia per riposare. In quel periodo scoprì per caso un nuovo ambito di attività. Durante il ritiro annuale nella parrocchia di Ramapuram, i predicatori riunirono circa 200 Dalit in chiesa e trasmisero loro le verità di fede. Avendo ricevuto quell'insegnamento religioso, si dimostrarono pronti a ricevere il Battesimo. Kunjachan decise di dedicarsi al servizio di quelle persone. Tale decisione lo rese guida ed emancipatore di migliaia di poveri di quel villaggio.
Proseguì l'apostolato verso i Dalit fino alla morte. Come affermava san Arnold Janssen, fondatore della Società del Verbo Divino, il primo e prioritario atto d'amore verso il prossimo consiste nel trasmettergli la Buona Novella di Gesù Cristo. Kunjachan si realizzò servendo con pazienza e compassione gli altri, in particolare gli emarginati, scorgendo in loro il volto di Gesù.
Per quasi 40 anni si dedicò al progresso dei fratelli Dalit. In quel tempo le condizioni sociali dei Dalit erano drammatiche a causa della crescente intoccabilità e discriminazione verso di loro, basate sulla casta e sul colore della loro pelle. Erano tutti analfabeti. Di conseguenza, erano superstiziosi e costretti dalla società a svolgere lavori manuali da schiavi. Tutti questi fattori resero molto difficile il ministero di Kunjachan.
Non era una persona straordinaria dal talento o dalle capacità eccezionali. Era un semplice sacerdote di parrocchia. Non ricevette alcun onore né speciali riconoscimenti per il suo instancabile servizio volto all'emancipazione dei poveri. Il suo programma quotidiano prevedeva visite a domicilio e sul luogo di lavoro dei Dalit. Il suo unico aiutante era un catechista. Tuttavia, riuscì ad avvicinare molte persone a Dio.
Ciononostante dovette affrontare l'opposizione e le dure critiche non solo delle caste superiori di non cristiani, ma anche dei cristiani tradizionali. Questi ostacoli non riuscirono mai far scemare lo zelo missionario di Kunjachan. Avvicinò alla Chiesa più di 5000 persone.
Creò un vincolo molto saldo con le persone che servì. Le chiamava "figli miei" ed esse lo chiamavano "nostro sacerdote". Era loro talmente vicino da riuscire a chiamarli tutti per nome, dai bambini agli anziani. Tenne un diario spirituale in tre volumi contenente informazioni dettagliate su di loro, relative al rapporto fra i membri di ogni famiglia, a nascite, a matrimoni, a decessi, a confessioni annuali, ecc.  Fu  instancabile nel riportare alla fede coloro che se ne erano allontanati e quanti non avevano rispettato la fedeltà coniugale.
Il suo obiettivo non era solo l'elevazione spirituale dei Dalit, ma anche la loro emancipazione sociale, culturale, intellettuale e artistica. Resistette all'opposizione con calma e mitezza. Non si scoraggiò quando il governo negò privilegi ai Dalit convertiti al cristianesimo. La grazia costante di Dio gli conferì forza e coraggio. Fonte della sua forza fu la preghiera al cospetto del Santissimo Sacramento. Fu anche devoto alla Beata Vergine Maria. Obbedì al suo parroco e al suo Vescovo con grande umiltà.
Le parole del Signore:  "In verità vi dico:  ogni volta che avete fatto queste cose a uno solo di questi miei fratelli più piccoli, l'avete fatto a me" (Mt 25, 40) erano profondamente iscritte nel cuore di Kunjachan. La tomba di Kunjachan, considerato santo quand'era ancora in vita, divenne un luogo di pellegrinaggio. Il processo di beatificazione e di canonizzazione iniziò ufficialmente nel 1987. Nel giugno 2004, quando Giovanni Paolo II decretò che Kunjachan aveva praticato le virtù teologiche e morali in modo eroico, egli divenne venerabile. Il processo di beatificazione di Kunjachan si è concluso il 19 dicembre 2005 quando Papa Benedetto XVI ha approvato il miracolo avvenuto per sua intercessione.

Tratto dall'omelia pronunciata dal Card. Vithayathil, Arcivescovo Maggiore di Ernakulam-Angamaly dei Siro-Malabaresi, durante la cerimonia di beatificazione celebrata il 30 aprile 2006 nella città indiana di Ramapuram



Mariam Thresia was called during the first half of her life simply Thresia, the name given to her at baptism on 3 May 1876. Since 1904 she wanted to be called Mariam Thresia as she believed that she was asked to add "Mariam" to her name by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a vision. She did so. And it was as Mariam Thresia that she was professed in 1914, the foundress and first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family. Mariam Thresia was one of the rare holy persons who moved constantly and consciously among the inhabitants of this world as well as with visitors from the world above and the world below.
She was born on 26 April as the daughter of Thoma and Thanda Chiramel Mankidiyan in the village of Puthenchira, Trichur District, Kerala. Though once a rich and noble family with extensive landed property, it became poorer and poorer as Thresia�s grandfather married away seven daughters one after the other selling the property to pay for each a costly dowry. To forget the poor straits to which the family was reduced Thresia�s father and brother took to drinking. Such was the family background in which the future pioneer of the family apostolate was born. The third of five children, two boys and three girls, Thresia grew up in piety and holiness under the loving guidance of her saintly mother Thanda. As she wrote later in her Autobiography (a small document of hardly six pages written under obedience to her spiritual father), from early childhood Thresia was moved by an intense desire to love God. For this purpose she fasted four times a week and prayed the Marian rosary several times a day. Seeing her thinned down at eight years of age, Thanda tried to dissuade Thresia from her severe fasts and night vigils. But Thresia wanted to be ever more in the likeness of the suffering Christ; to him she also consecrated her virginity when she was about ten years old.

When Thresia was only twelve years old, her mother died, which was the end also of her elementary school education. She was now set on a long search to discern her own vocation in life. She longed for a hidden life of prayer and hatched a scheme in 1891 to sneak away from home and lead an eremitical life of prayer and penance in the solitude of the far away woodhills. But this scheme proved too naive. She continued to frequent the church with three of her companions, clean it and decorate the altar. In her love for Jesus she wanted to be like him in his toil and apostolate. Hence she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her parish. She nursed even hideous and revolting cases of leprosy and small pox, often abandoned to their lot by their poor relatives who had no means of caring for them. Upon their death she took care of their orphaned children. Thus a much neglected village of Kerala benefited from the charitable services of a genuine forerunner of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Nobel prize winning saintly foundress of the Missionaries of Charity. Both Mariam Thresia and Mother Teresa served the poorest of the poor selflessly and heroically, the former preceding the latter by half a century before the age of journalists of the flashing cameras and of television crews relaying instant news across the world and creating celebrities.
Thresia and her three companions formed a group of prayer and of apostolate. Breaking with the custom of not leaving the house unless accompanied by men, they were on the roads and visited the families in need. Revolutionary novelty in their little world, which did not spare its criticism (not without moralising clerical support) of "the girls taking to the streets"! Thresia placed her trust in the help of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. She saw them frequently in visions and received guidance in her apostolate, especially for the conversion of sinners. She prayed for sinners, fasted for their conversion, and visited them and exhorted them to repentance. Her ascetical and penitential practices remind us of the extreme rigour of the ancient hermits and monks. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, aura of light, sweet odour. And like St. Teresa of Avila she had frequent ecstasies and levitations. On Fridays people used to gather to see Mariam Thresia lifted high and hanging in the form of a crucifix on the wall of her room. Like the well-known Blessed Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, she too bore the stigmata, carefully hiding it from public view. Perhaps to help her keep humble amidst such mystical favours, the Lord let her be tormented by diabolical attacks and vexations (again like Padre Pio) almost all through her life. She was repeatedly submitted to exorcism between 1902 and 1905 by Father Joseph Vithayathil, the parish priest of Puthenchira, acting under orders of the bishop, who wondered if she was simply a play thing of the devils. Thresia submitted to the bishop�s orders with exemplary humility, but the exorcisms seem to have made some people regard Mariam Thresia as a dubious saint, even as Saint Mary Magdalen, who was exorcised by Jesus Christ of seven demons, was eventually identified with the unnamed sinful woman in the Gospel of Luke (7: 36-50) on the wrong presumption that a possessed person must be a sinner. Mariam Thresia had also to fight temptations particularly against faith and chastity and she passed through the dark night of the soul. From 1902 till her death she had Father Vithayathil for spiritual director. She opened her heart fully and confidently to him and followed his advice and obeyed him blindly. Of her extant letters fifty-three out of fifty-five are addressed to him seeking advice and spiritual guidance.

In 1903 Mariam Thresia requested her bishop�s permission to build a prayer house of solitude, but Mar John Menachery, the Vicar Apostolic of Trichur, first wanted to test her vocation. He suggested to her to consider joining the newly founded Congregation of the Franciscan Clarists, but she did not think that she was called to it. In 1912 he made arrangements for her to live in a convent of the Carmelite nuns at Ollur. Though the Sisters would gladly have admitted her into their Congregation, she did not feel that it was her call. Finally, in 1913 Mar Menachery permitted her to build a prayer house and sent his secretary to bless it. Thresia moved in, and her three companions joined her soon. They led a life of prayer and austere penance like hermits but continued to visit the sick and help the poor and the needy irrespective of religion or caste. The bishop discerned that here was in gestation a new religious Congregation for the service of the family. On 14 May 1914 he erected it canonically and named it the Congregation of the Holy Family (C.H.F.) while receiving the perpetual profession of Mariam Thresia. Her three companions were enrolled as postulants in the new Congregation, while she was appointed its first Superior with Father Joseph Vithayathil as chaplain.

The newly founded Congregation had no written Constitutions. The bishop himself procured the Constitutions of the Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux from their house in Ceylon (today, Sri Lanka), adapted it and gave it to the foundress. Mother Mariam Thresia saw to its strict observance in the new Congregation, which she nurtured with great care. During and after the difficult years of the First World War, with indomitable energy and utter trust in divine providence, she built, in less than twelve years, three new convents, two schools, two hostels, a study house, and an orphanage. Education of girls was Mariam Thresia�s liberation theology in action, without the slogan. Several young girls were attracted to her by her simplicity, humility and shining sanctity. At the time of her death at the age of fifty there were 55 Sisters in the Congregation, 30 boarders and 10 orphans under her care. The co-founder Father Joseph Vithayathil continued, till his death in 1964, to nurture the Congregation, which grew steadily. Today in the year 2000, this Congregation of the Holy Family has 1584 professed Sisters, serving in Kerala, in the mission areas of North India, in Germany, Italy, and Ghana, with a total of 176 houses in 7 provinces and 119 novices.

Mother Mariam Thresia died on 8 June 1926 from a wound on the leg caused by a falling object. The wound defied cure owing to her diabetes. After her death the fame of Mariam Thresia spread as she continued from heaven to succour the sick and the needy through miraculous favours. In 1971 a historical commission collected the necessary evidence regarding her life, virtues and writings and presented it in 1983 before an eparchial (diocesan) tribunal, which also collected the depositions of fifteen of the surviving eye-witnesses. On 28 June 1999 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated a decree stating that the Servant of God Mariam Thresia had practised the Christian virtues heroically, and so she was entitled to be called Venerable.
Of the numerous miraculous cures reported the following one was examined canonically in 1992. Mathew D. Pellissery, was born in 1956 with congenital club feet and till he was fourteen he could only walk with great difficulty on the sides of his feet. After 33 days of fasting and prayer invoking the help of Mother Mariam Thresia by the whole family, his right foot was straightened during night sleep on 21 August 1970. And similarly after 39 days of fasting and prayer his left foot was straightened overnight during sleep on 28 August 1971. Ever since then Mathew has been able to walk normally. This double healing was declared inexplicable in terms of medical science by as many as nine doctors in India and Italy and was declared a miracle obtained through the intercession of the Servant of God Mariam Thresia by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 27 January 2000. This miraculous cure thus met the last canonical requirement for her beatification scheduled for 9 April 2000. Mathew Pellissery is grateful to be able to be present at this solemn celebration of beatification in Piazza San Pietro.

Death and Fame of Sanctity

Nurturing the New Congregation

The Foundation of the Congregation of the Holy Family

Discerning Her Vocation



Born October 7, 1877 Kattoor, Thrissur District, Kerala, India
Died August 29, 1952 Ollur, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Beatified December 3, 2006,

Feast day: August 29

Canonized 23 November 2014, Rome by Pope Francis

Euphrasia Eluvathingal (Rosa) was born on October 17, 1877, in the village of Kattur, in Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Thrissur in Thrissur district. Rosa was the eldest child of Eluvathingal Cherpukaran Antony and Kunjethy. On the 8th day, she was baptised in the Edathuruthy church. At the age of 12th, she joined boarding attached to the first indigenous Carmelite community founded by Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Rev. Leopold Beccaro 1866 at Koonammavu in Thrissur district.
Religious Life

In 1897, Mar John Menachery, the first native Bishop of Thrissur, established a Carmelite Convent in Ambazakad (now belonging to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Irinjalakuda ). Then he brought from Koonammavu all who belonged to his Diocese including Rosa on May 9th. On the next day Rosa received her headdress and the name “Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, and in 1898 the Religious Habit of Carmel. Euphrasia took her perpetual vows on 24 May 1900 during the blessing of the newly founded convent at Ollur.

After she took her perpetual vows, she was appointed assistant to the Novice Mistress. Though frail in health, Euphrasia exhibited rare moral courage, spiritual power and a very high sense of responsibility and so she was soon appointed Novice Mistress of the Congregation in which position she worked for nine years. After this she was made Mother Superior of St. Mary’s Convent, Ollur. Prayer was her life breath wherever she was. Hence people called her the "Praying Mother" and “the mobile tabernacle.”

St. Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1877-1952)
Sister of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel
The daughter of Anthony and Kunjethy of Eluvathingal Cherpukaran, Rose Eluvathingal was born on 17 October 1877 in the village of Kattoor, in the Diocese of Trichur, India. Her mother's deep piety and great devotion to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, had a strong influence on little Rose from her childhood.

From the stories that her mother told her, especially about St Rose of Lima, she grew with a strong desire to practice the virtues, to suffer for Jesus and to be holy, and to do all this in a quiet, hidden manner.
During her developing years Rose began to detach herself from earthly possessions and pleasure and took a great interest in spiritual matters. This was all the more rooted in her at the age of 9 by means of an apparition of the Blessed Mother, after which the young girl offered herself totally to the Lord.
Notwithstanding the strong opposition of her father, who wanted Rose to marry into a rich family, she wanted to become a religious Sister. Her intense prayer life, which included the rosary, fasting and abstinence, as well as the rather sudden death of her younger sister, brought about a change of heart in her father, Anthony, who granted Rose permission to enter the convent.
In fact, her father accompanied her personally to the convent of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel at Koonammavu, the first indigenous congregation of Syro-Malabars.
But even with her desire to be a Religious, Rose was often afflicted with various illnesses which caused her intense suffering. Once, during a particularly painful attack, the Sisters were resolved to send her away for ever, but through an apparition of the Holy Family she received a miraculous healing that permitted her to continue following God's call.
Model of prayer, abandonment
On 10 May 1897 Rose became a postulant and took the name Sr Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and on 10 January 1898 she received the holy habit of Carmel.
She practised the virtues of humility, charity and renunciation and grew in holiness with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For the periods of grave illness and the trials of the powers of darkness that she endured, she was rewarded by intense spiritual joys.
On 24 May 1900 St Mary's Convent was founded in the current Archdiocese of Trichur, and on the same day Sr Euphrasia made her perpetual vows to God, a day of unspeakable joy, since now she belonged for ever to her Heavenly Spouse.
From 1904 to 1913 Sr Euphrasia was entrusted with the duty of novice mistress and, sustained by the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, she formed the future members of her Congregation. In their Mother Mistress the novices saw the heroic virtues of humility, poverty, penance, obedience and abandonment to God's will.
Although Sr Euphrasia wanted to live a hidden life, she was chosen as Superior of the Convent of St Mary at Ollur. Due to her profound humility she found it difficult to accept this new duty. But after an interior inspiration she acquired a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, placed it in the centre of the convent and entrusted the duty of Mother Superior to his Sacred Heart. She held the post from 1913 to 1916.
For almost 48 years the convent of St Mary was home to Mother Euphrasia. Observing her life of prayer and holiness, the local people called her "Praying Mother", and her Sisters in community referred to her as the "Mobile Tabernacle", because the divine presence she kept within her radiated to all she encountered.
From the first years of her Religious life, Mother Euphrasia had the blessing of the spiritual guidance of Bishop John Menacherry. He ordered her to reveal to him every aspect of her spiritual life, and he wisely kept all of her letters.
When his successor, Mar George Alappatt, retired, he entrusted the letters to the Superior of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Trichur with the prophetic words: "You will need them". In fact, they are a precious treasure and an authentic mirror of the spiritual life of this holy, humble Religious.
Loving Church and neighbour
Mother Euphrasia spent much of her day in the convent chapel before the Blessed Sacrament and she also nourished a great love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary; as a result, she was naturally an apostle of the Eucharist and of the Rosary.
She was totally dedicated to love and was continually consoled by the Crucified Lord. She was the first to humble herself and to accept suffering, misunderstandings and rejection for love of Christ. Her strength came from Jesus, who had become her betrothed in spiritual matrimony as her letters testify.
From her profound union with the Lord Jesus came her capacity to give of herself to others, and so she fully incarnated the motto of her Congregation: "Remain united to me in contemplation and consecrated to me in action" (cf. Jn 15: 5).
Thus, with a pure heart Mother Euphrasia gave her maternal love and tenderness to those who sought her help. She gave them the comforting words of Jesus' Gospel and interceded for them. For each little kindness bestowed upon her she would reply, "I will not forget it, not even after death".
Mother Euphrasia had a profound sense of Church and she personally felt the sorrows and problems of the Church of her day. She offered her mortifications and penances for the conversion of schismatics and asked the novices and children to pray for them.
She prayed ardently before the Blessed Sacrament for the Holy Father, for Bishops, priests and Religious.
Mother Euphrasia offered her life in sacrifice for love of God. She abandoned herself to his will and finally joined him in the heavenly embrace with her holy death on 29 August 1952.
After Mother Euphrasia's death many of those who had obtained her help during her lifetime now continued to beseech her help at her tomb. In 1990 her tomb was opened, and her mortal remains were moved to the convent chapel.
Pope John Paul II approved the Decree of the heroic virtues of the Servant of God in 2002, proclaiming her Venerable. On Sunday, 3 December 2006, she became the fifth Blessed of Kerala, India, and the sixth of the Nation of India.



Teresa de Jesús "de los Andes" (1900-1920)
virgin, Discalced Carmelite Nuns 

Feastday: October 1
Patron of the Missions
1873 - 1897

The young woman who is today glorified by the Church with the title of Saint, is a prophet of God for the men and women of today.
She was born in Santiago de Chile on 13 July 1900. At the font she was christened Juana Enriqueta Josefina of the Sacred Hearts Fernandez Solar. Those who knew her closely called her Juanita, the name by which she is widely known today.
She had a normal upbringing surrounded by her family: her parents Miguel Fernandez and Lucia Solar, three brothers and two sisters, her maternal grandfather, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Her family were well-off and were faithful to their Christian faith, living it with faith and constancy.
Juana was educated in the college of the French nuns of the Sacred Heart. Her brief but intense life unfolded within her family and at college. When she was fourteen, under God's inspiration, she decided to consecrate herself to him as a religious in the Discalced Carmelite Nuns.
This desire of hers was realized on 7 May 1919, when she entered the tiny monastery of the Holy Spirit in the township of Los Andes, some 90 kilometers from Santiago.
She was clothed with the Carmelite habit 14 October the same year and began her novitiate with the name of Teresa of Jesus. She knew a long time before that she would die young. Moreover the Lord revealed this to her. A month before she was to depart this life, she related this to her confessor.
She accepted all this with happiness, serenity and confidence. She was certain that her mission to make God known and loved would continue in eternity.
After many interior trials and indescribable physical suffering caused by a violent attack of typhus that cut short her life, she passed from this world to her heavenly Father on the evening of 12 April 1920. She received the last sacraments with the utmost fervour, and on 7 April, because of danger of death, she made her religious profession. She was three months short of her 20th birthday, and had yet 6 months to complete her canonical novitiate and to be legally able to make her religious profession. She died as a Discalced Carmelite novice.
Externally this is all there is to this young girl from Santiago de Chile. It is all rather disconcerting and a great question arises in us, "What was accomplished?" The answer to such a question is equally disconcerting: living, believing, loving.
When the disciples asked Jesus what they must do to carry out God's work, he replied, "This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent." (Jn 6, 28-29). For this reason, in order to recognize the value of Juanita's fife, it is necessary to examine the substance within, where the Kingdom of God is to be found.
She wakened to the life of grace while still quite young. She affirms that God drew her at the age of six to begin to spare no effort in directing her capacity to love totally towards him. "It was shortly after the 1906 earthquake that Jesus began to claim my heart for himself." (Diary n. 3, p. 26).
Juanita possessed an enormous capacity to love and to be loved joined with an extraordinary intelligence. God allowed her to experience his presence. With this knowledge he purified her and made her his own through what it entails to take up the cross. Knowing him, she loved him; and loving him, she bound herself totally to him.
Once this child understood that love demonstrates itself in deeds rather than words, the result was that she expressed her love through every action of her life. She examined herself sincerely and wisely and understood that in order to belong to God it was necessary to die to herself in all that did not belong to him.
Her natural inclinations were completely contrary to the demands of the Gospel. She was proud, self-centred, stubborn, with all the defects that these things suppose, as is the common lot. But where she differed from the general run, was to carry out continual warfare on every impulse that did not arise from love.
At the age of ten she became a new person. What lay immediately behind this was the fact that she was going to make her first Communion. Understanding that nobody less that God was going to dwell within her, she set about acquiring all the virtues that would make her less unworthy of this grace. In the shortest possible time she managed to transform her character completely.
In making her first Communion she received from God the mystical grace of interior locutions, which from then on supported her throughout her fife. God took over her natural inclinations, transforming them from that day into friendship and a fife of prayer.
Four years later she received an interior revelation that shaped the direction of her life. Jesus told her that she would be a Carmelite and that holiness must be her goal.
With God's abundant grace and the generosity of a young girl in love, she gave herself over to prayer, to the acquiring of virtue and the practice of a life in accord with the Gospel. Such were her efforts that in a few short years she reached a high degree of union with God.
Christ was the one and only ideal she had. She was in love with him and ready each moment to crucify herself for him. A bridal love pervaded her with the result that she desired to unite herself fully to him who had captivated her. As a result, at the age of fifteen she made a vow of virginity for 9 days, continually renewing it from then on.
The holiness of her life shone out in the everyday occurrences, wherever she found herself: at home, in college, with friends, the people she stayed with on holidays. To all, with apostolic zeal, she spoke of God and gave assistance. She was young like her friends, but they knew she was different. They took her as a model, seeking her support and advice. All the pains that are part of living, Juanita felt keenly, and the happiness she enjoyed deeply, all in God.
She was cheerful, happy, sympathetic, attractive, communicative and involved in sport. During her adolescence she reached perfect psychic and spiritual equilibrium. These were the fruit of her asceticism and prayer. The serenity of her face was a reflection of the divine guest within. Her life as a nun, from 7 May 1919, was the last rung on the ladder to holiness. Only eleven months were necessary to bring to an end the process of making her life totally Christ-like.
Her community was quick to discover the hand of God in her past life. The young novice found in the Carmelite way of life the full and efficient channel for spreading the torrent of life that she wanted to give to the Church of Christ. It was a way of life that, in her own way, she had lived amongst her own and for which she was born. The Order of the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel fulfilled the desires of Juanita. It was proof to her that God's mother, whom she had loved from infancy, had drawn her to be part of it.
She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Santiago de Chile on 3 April 1987. Her remains are venerated in the Sanctuary of Auco-Rinconada of Los Andes by the thousands of pilgrims who seek in her and find guidance, light and a direct way to God.
SAINT TERESA OF JESUS OF LOS ANDES is the first Chilean to be declared a Saint. She is the first Discalced Carmelite Nun to become a Saint outside the boundaries of Europe and the fourth Saint Teresa in Carmel together with Saints Teresa of Avila, of Florence