Blessed Sr. Alphonsa
Blessed Alponsa was born on 19th
August 1910 as the fourth child of Joseph and Mary Muttathupadath,
in the parish of Kudamaloor in the state of Kerala. She was baptized
on the 27th August. Her baptismal name was Anna and her pet name Annakutty.
Her mother passed away three moths after her birth.
Annakutty started her schooling at Arpookara and left for Muttuchira
Govt. School for pursuing her studies from the fourth class onwards
under the immediate supervision of her maternal aunt Annamma Muricken.
The aunt brought her up extremely affectionately, but equally strictly
also. Her one ambition was that the child should be brought up as
a respectable housewife for a deserving bridegroom. Annakutty had
a vision of St. Theresa of Liseux whose life in spired her to become
a religious. She therefore did not yield to any marriage proposal.
Finally when she was almost compelled to be betrothed at to the church,
she extricated herself from it by voluntary burning her foot placing
it an ash pit of burning husks. Against such determine resistance
the aunt succumbed to her desire and permitted her to join a convent
Annakutty joined Clarist convent at Bharananganam in 1927 on the feast
of Pentecost. She recived the veil postulant on second August 1928
with the name Alphonsa. Her vestition was on 19th May 1930. Later
she joined the St. Theresa’s School Chenganacherry for higher
studies, on completing which she engaged in teaching for a period
of one year at Vakakkad. Sr. Alphonsa entered the novitiate on 12th
August 1935. During this period, she had a sever attack of hemorrhage
and it was feared that she would have to be sent back. But on the
ninth day of novena held by her and the community seeking intercession
of Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavera, she was miraculously cured her. She
completed the novitiate and made the solemn profession of her religious
vows on 12th August 1936.
Sr. Alphonsa continued to have her repeated spells of sickness and
pain. She was on a bed of thrones torn and tortured by excruciating
pain and prolonged agony. Here was an rejoiced in the lord and magnified
Him. She was longing to suffer even more for her own sanctification
and that of the world.
She constantly advised her companions and novices to accept suffering
cheerfully citing the biblical references to the grain of wheat which
has to fall down and decay for raising new sprouts; it has to be ground
in order to be turned into hosts for transformation as the body of
Our Lord. She also reminded them of the grapes which have to be crushed
for yielding wine to become the blood of the Lord.
Her death(28th July 1946) was unnoticed by the public. The funeral
was simple and thinly attended. But soon the school children , who
loved her received favors through her intercession. Her tomb at Bharananganam
turned into a great centre of pilgrimage attracting people from far
H.E. Cardinal Tisserant inaugurated the diocesan process for her beatification
on 2nd December 1953. The Long diocesan and subsequent apostolic processes
bore fruit when on 9th November 1984 the Holy Father officially declared
that she had practiced the Christian virtues heroically. A miracle
wrought through her intercession was also formally approved by the
Pope on 6th July 1985.
Providence has been pleased to bestow on this generation the grace
to see a daughter of the soil, a seed of the ancient Christian community
of Kerala and India, beatified (8th February 1986) in her homeland
by the Supreme Pontiff during his visit to this chosen land.
Now Sr. Alphonsa
is to be declared as Saint by Pope Benedict XVI. All the canonization
process was over.