Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family will be canonized in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Oct. 13. Pope Francis formally approved her canonization on July 1 in the ordinary public consistory of cardinals on causes of canonization at the Vatican. The others to be canonized on the same day  are Blessed John Henry Newman from England, Italian Blessed Josephine Vannini, foundress of the Daughters of St. Camillus; Brazilian Blessed Irmã Dulce Pontes of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God; and Swiss Blessed Marguerite Bays, virgin and Third Order Franciscan.

She was a social reformer and an absolutely remarkable personality. She worked at a time when women were not allowed to go out of their homes.

Blessed Mariam Thresia was born in Puthenchira, which is a remote village in Kerala. She grew up in a poor family that had lost all its wealth paying the dowry of her seven aunts. She worked with families affected by drinking, immortality, and violence. She was a social reformer and an absolutely remarkable personality. She worked at a time when women were not allowed to go out of their homes. Mother Thresia, who took the order with her three friends and took care of the poor and needy but she had to face a lot of objections by society. In the beginning, a lot of people did not agree with her ideas, but Mother Thresia remained persistent in her approach towards her work. The focus of her work were mainly poor families.

The late nun was beatified on 9 April 2000. Her last words were “My beloved children, why are your hearts troubled like people of little faith? You know just like me that I shall not be relived for this illness. If it is the will of the heavenly Bridegroom that I leave you very soon in answer to his invitation. Let it be fulfilled. Our congregation is still an infant. You should not forget that it is your personal responsibility as members of this congregation to foster and rear it. Deal with the superiors sincerely and lovingly. Love one another, help one another.”

The late nun will be canonized in October when the Indian Bishops will be on their visit to Rome.

The late nun will be canonized in October when the Indian Bishops will be on their visit to Rome. The soul left for the heavenly abode on June 8, 1926, after her condition worsened and became more and more critical. She requested to be laid on the floor and kept repeating the ejaculatory prayer “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I entrust my heart and my body into your loving hands.”

On May 13, 1914, Rev Dr John Menachery, Bishop of Trichur visited Mariam Thresia’s hermitage. The Bishop was satisfied with the four inmates and their ways of life. In consultation with Father Joseph Vithayathil, the Bishop decided to convert the Ekanta Bhavan to a new congregation of the Holy Family and soon made canonical erection of the same. On May 14, 1914, in the presence of Fr Joseph Vithayathil, many other priests and parishioners gathered at Puthenchira. Bishop John Menachery proclaimed officially the establishment of the Congregation of Holy Family (CHF). The Bishop appointed Sr Mariam Thresia as the Mother superior of the new congregation and nominated Father Vithayathil as a chaplain.

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