Monday, 13 October 2008

Saint Alphonsa

Kerala nun Sister Alphonsa is now Saint Alphonsa
Swati Maheshwari
Sunday, October 12, 2008, (Vatican City)
It's the biggest moment for Indian Christians in centuries. The Pope will elevate a Kerala-born nun -- who died more than 60 years ago -- to sainthood.She will be the first Indian woman to have travelled from a small village in Kerala to join a list of saints revered by the entire Christian world.The only other woman from India on the path to sainthood is Mother Teresa who was beatified five years ago.Indians from all over the world have reached Rome to celebrate this proud moment.Among them is Siby Neerackal, Sister Alphonsa's relative, who never thought he'd be invited by the Vatican to come to St Peter's.He feels it must be yet another miracle by his ancestor that has brought him here from his village near Kottayam in Kerala.His way of showing his gratitude to the Sister is a mural which he hopes to present to the Pope during the canonisation ceremony."I am very privileged to be here. I got this mural done by three people who painted it continuously in four days," he said.Though Sister Alphonsa died at the young age of 36, she created a much bigger family of Sisters of the Franciscan clarist Congrgation with her short life of unflinching faith.And now, hundreds have crowded into the ancient church in Rome to remember her.These people have travelled from the US to see someone who lived in their area get such an honour at Christianity's holiest site.St Peter's square will be even more crowded than it is usually for Sunday's Holy Mass when the Pope elevates the first Indian woman to sainthood.The Vatican has taken more than 50 years to scrutinise Sister Alphonsa's life and work before conferring one of church's highest spiritual honours.It's a proud moment for the Indian Christian community that is planning to celebrate it by being in Vatican in full force (Taken from
Sister Alphonsa was canonized on Sunday Oct.12,2008
I believe anyone who is practising New Testament Christianity is a saint according to the Bible and not just some special people declared to be saints by a religious institution. At the same time we are to honor and respect our leaders and spiritual mentors.I have taken the following article from which gives a very good commentary.
Consider Your Calling
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:1-2
What do you picture when you hear the word “saint”? A deceased person, a statue, candles and incense? Years ago, my definition would have been, “One who is worthy to be prayed to.” I also associated sainthood with death, as if it was an oxymoron to be a “living and breathing saint.” But in Paul’s opening to the Corinthian church, his definition is very different. First, he begins this letter by addressing himself and bringing attention to his calling as an apostle. An apostle means “a sent one.” Paul then goes on to say that he was “sent” to the Corinthian church to remind them of their calling—sainthood. The Corinthian church seemed far from sainthood. As a church they struggled with pride, immorality, idolatry, envy, jealousy—just to name a few. Paul knew what they were like, which is why he wrote them this letter. So why did he tell them they were called to be saints?
According to the Bible, a saint is one separated from the world and consecrated to God; a believer in Christ (Psalm 16:3; Romans 1:7; Romans 8:27; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 6:10). Becoming a saint starts right here on earth, the minute you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Mans’ ways of statues and candles and incense or even good works are not God’s ways of being set apart to do His will. Paul was reminding the Corinthians that they are now saints because of Jesus, but they were not acting according to their calling. Their lifestyle contradicted their declaration of knowing, loving and living for God.
This contradiction happens to us too. We become saints because of believing in Jesus’ work on the cross and then we have the ability to live for Him by the filling of the Holy Spirit. Our sainthood does not rest in our works but in our belief. Our beliefs should represent the way we live, not inconsistent like the Corinthians.
Today, ask the Lord if your calling in Christ (being called a saint) is consistent with your every day life. Are you living every day to please Him? Are your priorities consistent with a life of holiness? Do you really understand your calling? Consider the areas in your lifestyle that you know are not pleasing to the Lord. Then write a prayer specifically asking Him to help you be who He wants you to be.

6 Fertilize my soul:

Louise said...

Thank you for this beautiful, thought-provoking post my friend.

Julia Dutta said...

Beautiful post Amrita, for both the features you put in. Yet, I am full of pride that they chose a woman and she is Indian! :))))

the mother of this lot said...

I enjoyed reading about Saint Alphonsa, Amrita. But I don't think I'll ever make a saint, somehow!!

Rebecca said...

I was not raised in a religious instiution that venerated human individuals in this way but I think we have tons to learn from groups that do this. And just like "The Mother of This Lot" I KNOW that I would Never make "sainthood".........imagine having your life scrutinized for fifty years...the powers that b would not get past the firt week before they really tripped up on a few things. The thought makes me roll my eyes an giggle!!!!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
wonderful news. Not being a Catholic I was not aware of St. Alphonsa being appointed.
It is a great event though.
I don't think any who aspire for sainthood will be appointed. Those who faithfully serve our Lord without looking at their own benefit have proved to be the really saints. Also acknowledged by the Catholic Church. India in this time of trials fosters many saints.
May God be with them all.
From Felisol

Amrita said...

Hi friends,

Everyone who is a regenerated Christian is a saint declared by God.Saints are everyday people warts and all, Paul called the church members saints and they were not super-special or great miracle workers.

At the same time there is a special place for people who have been examples of faith and torch bearers.

My dear Jackie and Rebecca you are saints in the sight of God.

Yes Julia it is a proud moment for Indian Catholics to have Saint Alphonsa cannonised.There were one or two nuns I would have cannonized if i had the authority,in the convent school i studied.(no offense meant)