Pope Francis declares two Kerala Catholics as saints

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Vatican City, Nov 23: In a big moment for India's Catholic Christian community, Pope Francis on Sunday conferred sainthood to two beatified candidates from Kerala.

Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia, the two beatified candidates from Kerala, were cannonised during a special mass at St Peter's Square at Vatican along, with four others. This was a moment shared in elation and spiritual fervour by churches across Kerala where the faithful throng in large numbers for thanks giving service and prayers.

Pope Francis
A large number of devotees, two Cardinals, bishops and clergy and nuns from Kerala attended the ceremony at Vatican also. An official delegation from India led by PJ Kurein attended the ceremony at Vatican.

Three places closely associated to the lives of Chavara and Euprhasia at Mannman in Kottayam, Koonammavu in Ernakulam and Ollur in Thrissur have already been in a jubilant mood for the last several days.

Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871), who was cannonised by Pope Francis is associated with reforms in the Syro-Malabar church.

Founder of the congregation Carmalites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), Chavara was more than a spiritual leader of Syro Malabar Catholic community.

Historians and church chroniclers consider him as a social reformer who gave thrust to secular education of not only Catholics but also of children other communities, especially the depressed classes. Incidentally, one of the first institutions he founded was a Sanskrit school.

Sister Euphrasia, who was born on October 17, 1877 at Arnattukara in Thrissur and died in 1952, was significantly a member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel (CMC), founded by Chavara for women.

She was declared Servant of God in 1987 and beatified in 2006 after the approval of a miracle attributed through her intercession by the Vatican panel set up to consider her case for Sainthood. Carmelite nun, Blessed Euphrasia Eluvathingal is known as the 'Saint among nuns'.

Sister Euprhasia was a spiritual person who chose to live in the confines of a convent in Thrissur helping the people who came seeking her support "Evuprasiamma", as she is known to the members of the local community around her convent in Ollur, brought spiritual solace to the people who approached her through prayers and wise counsel.

With their canonisation, as the finale of the long-drawn stage-by-stage process is known in Catholic parlance, the centuries-old Syro Malabar Church will have three saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa, raised to the revered rank in 2008.

In India, Christians are approximately two per cent of the country's billion people, but Catholic saints do fall short. The Vatican is strict when it comes to accepting miracles.

Lack of potential candidates is not the reason for the shortage of saints in the country, but the procedure of declaring sainthood is difficult.

To reach sainthood a person requires two miracles, one to be beatified and the other to be canonised.

In 2008, there were 14 Indian or India connected causes for canonisation in various stages of investigation, two of them from Goa - Blessed Joseph Vaz and Venerable Agenlo de Souza. Vaz, beatified in 1995 is a step away from sainthood and Goa awaits the miracle that will take him there.

OneIndia News

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