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3 Indian Saints Before Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is not the first Indian to be be raised to sainthood, 3 other personalities from Kerala’s Christian community have received this honour from the Vatican

1. Saint Alphonsa

Saint India

Sixty years after her death, Kerala-born nun Sister Alphonsa became the first Indian woman to be conferred sainthood. Since 2008, her name is invoked in Church masses the world over.  Sister Alphonsa’s beatification – recognition by Church of a dead person’s accession to heaven – was ordained by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Kerala in February 1986. She has also been the subject of about 50 books till date. 9 CDs of songs and dramatic narratives and telefilms are also available. Miniatures and images of St Alphonsa can now be purchased from the main bookstalls in Kerala.
Miracle (s) considered for sainthood

Healing of a one-year-old boy, Jinil, who could not walk because of a disability, who then regained control of his legs the day his parents took him to the Sister’s tomb for prayers.

2. Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal

Saint India

Sister Euphrasia was born as Rosa Eluvathingal Oct 7, 1877, at Edathuruthy (Ollur) in Thrissur district. She joined Congregation of the Mother of Carmel and received her veil as a nun in May 1900. “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.  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.

Miracle (s) considered for sainthood

1. She reported healed a carpenter from bone cancer in Ollur. The man’s sister, Rosy, later claimed that cure was the result of her prayer to Euphrasia.
2. She also reportedly healed seven-year old child named Jewel from Aloor in Thrissur District, after his grandmother prayed to Euphrasia.

3. Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara

Saint India

In 2014, Pope Francis declared Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara a saint, giving the centuries old Syro Malabar Catholic Church three Saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa.  The CMI has over the decades set up a large number of educational and charity organisations within and outside Kerala, drawing inspiration from the work and vision of its founder. He was born in a family of modest means at Kainakari village in Kuttanad in Alappuzha district on February 10, 1805. He entered the seminary for training as a priest at a young age. After his ordination in 1829, he took the initiative to form the CMI in 1831, the first congregation for men in the Syro Malabar Church.

Chavara was also a social reformer and believed that intellectual development and education of women was the first step towards overall social welfare. He first introduced the system called “A school along with every church”, which was successful in making free education available for everyone.

According to church scholars, Syro Malabar Church, which traces its origin to the visit of Apostle St Thomas to the Kerala coast in the first century AD, is one of the 22 Eastern Churches in Full Communion with Rome.

Miracle (s) considered for sainthood

According to a site managed by the (CMI) Chavara Institute Of Indian And Inter-Religious Studies, the miracle considered for Chavara’s sainthood was  “instantaneous, total and stable cure of the squint eye of a Maria Jose Kottarathil”, who suffered from a “defect of congenital squint (alternating esotropia) in both her eyes”

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