Kerala-born Catholic nun Mariam Thresia was on Sunday declared a saint by Pope Francis in a function at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, news agency PTI reported. She is the third nun and fourth clergy member from the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church to be canonized into the league of saints.
The nun was canonized along with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Swiss laywoman Marguerite Bays, Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes and Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini.
The nun had died in 1926 aged 50. The process of canonization had begun in 1975 with a commission formed to look into her life and miracles attributed to her. She was beatified in 2000, which is a step closer to sainthood. Earlier this year, Pope Francis had approved the second miracle attributed to Thresia, paving the way for her sainthood.
Born at Puthenchira village in Thrissur district, Thresia had been known as a mystic as well as a social reformer. In 1914, Thresia, along with her three friends, established a religious group Congregation of Holy Family, which later became one of the prominent religious congregations of the Syro-Malabar Church.
The Church has declared her as 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 below.
“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.
After Thresia, the next in the category of the blessed are Sister Rani Mariya, who died in Indore 24 years ago and Father Thevarparambil Kunjachan, who lived and worked in Kottayam district in the first half of the last century.