Pope to declare Sr Alphonsa as saint on Oct 12

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Kottayam, Mar 1 (UNI) Sr Alphonsa will become the first woman saint of the country when Pope Benedict XVI canonises her at a holy mass at St Peter's Basilica in Rome on October 12.

The date was simultaneously announced by the Pope in Rome and Bishop Mar Kallarangattu at Bharanaganam Church at Pala today.

Holy mass and novena prayers were also held as part of the announcement at Bharanaganam.

Hailing from Muttathupadathu, Sr Alphonsa was born as the fourth child of Joseph and Mary on August 19, 1910, in the parish of Kudamaloor in Kerala. She was christened 'Anna' and her pet name was Annakutty.

After losing her mother as a three-month-old toddler, Annakutty had her early education at Arppookara and did her further studies at Muttuchira, staying with her maternal aunt Annamma Murickan.

Following a vision of Saint Little Theresa of Lisieux, she was inspired to become a nun and hence refused all marriage proposals.

Despite her unwillingness, she was forced to agree for betrothal.

However, an unyielding Annakutty burnt her feet in hot husk, forcing her family members to allow her to join the convent.

On the feast of Pentecost in 1927, she was admitted into the Clarist Convent at Bharanaganam. On August two, 1928, she was named Alphonsa and was given the veil of postulant and on May 19, 1930, she vested her religious habit. Soon after vestition, she was sent for higher studies to Changanacherry. The only school now named after her was fortunate to have her as their teacher only for an year.

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