Roman Catholic Church to accord sainthood to Sister Alphonsa from India

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Kottayam (Kerala), Mar 3 : Sister Alphonsa from Kerala will become the first nun from the country to be canonised by the Vatican.

She will become Saint Alphonsa on October 12 this year.

The date was announced after a formal meeting of the Pope and other cardinals in the Vatican on March 1.

Her beatification - that is recognition by the Church of a dead person's accession to heaven - was ordered by the then Pope, Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Kerala in 1986.

Sister Alphonsa was born at Kudamaloor in Kottayam District in 1910. She joined the Clarist congregation.

She died in 1946 after suffering from various illnesses.

Sister Alphonsa was attributed to some of miracles by the residents. She was beatified and made Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1986.

According to residents, a disabled child was miraculously cured of his ailment and his limbs restored due to prayers at the altar of Sister Alphonsa's shrine.

"One day the parents brought the child to the tomb and prayed in the chapel of sister Alphonsa and on the same day she miraculously cured both the feet of the child. They were happy and this incident was reported to Rome," said Father Francis Vodakkal.

The sisters in Kottayam were very pleased to hear the news that sainthood would be accorded to Sister Alphonsa.

"For the first time, a sister from India is being beatified. It is a great blessing to be working in the convent where sister Alphonsa lived and attained sainthood. Following her mission, we are also striving to work and become like sister Alphonsa," said Sister Annie George.

Sister Alphonsa is the first person to be conferred sainthood from the Kerala Church, which traces its origins to the visit of St Thomas around 2,000 years ago to preach the gospel in India.

In June 2007, Pope Benedict Fourteenth signed a decree approving the miracles that took place through the intercession of Alphonsa paving the way for canonisation.

Her tomb at Palai in Kerala is a famous Christian pilgrimage spot.

ANI

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