Saint Alphonsa of Bharananganam, Kerala, India, is the new Star on the firmament ot the Catholic Church of 21st centuary. Sr.Alphonsa is the first woman saint of the Church in India. Sr. Alphonsa was born as the fourth child of Joseph and Mary on 19th of August 1910 in Kudamaloor,in Kerala, in the southern part of India. Her babtismal name was Anna.
Anna´s childhood was not extraordinary. She lost her mother after three month of her birth and her father entrusted the child to the care of her maternal aunt and she has given Anna a sound and strong faith. After her schooling ,she expressed her wish to become a Nun against the will of her aunt.Anna joined the Clarist Congregation at Bharananganam near Palai, in Kottayam District,,in the state of Kerala in 1927, finished her novitate and became a professed nun on 12th of Augest 1936.
She teached in a primary shool for a short period of time for two years.She fell ill continuously for the rest of her life till her death on 28th of July 1946.She died at the young age of 36. Her illness was not ordinary. She knew that her suffering has a deeper meaning and value before God.That is why she took the cup of suffering as a Grace from the Cross of Christ and sufferd it for the salvation of the entire world .She has had visions from the Crucifyed Lord Jesus Christ. Because of her prayer many were healed even during her life time.She advised her companions ,vistors and children who visited her during her illness to accept pain and suffering cheerfully and heroically and to suffer with the Cross of Jesus Christ. "When we suffer with Christ, it is wroth suffered", she said.
Soon after her death ,many reecived favours from her through her intercesion and her tomb in Bharananganam became a centre of Pilgrimage.Saint Alphonsa becomes a Ray of Hope for the Church of India especially , as she is going through a worst , traumatic and difficult period of persecutions in its entire history of nearly 2000 years of its existence in India. In many a states of India, the church is faced with the threat of extinction of its very existence.
The Canonization (Canonized by Vatican on October 12, 2008) of Sr. Alphonsa is a Consolation for the church of Kerala and it comes at the right tme as it faces many a problems arising from its political, social, ideological and moral aspects and questions that affect the future of the Church in Kerala.Church is belived to be a vehicle and medium of God´s salvation, created and continued till the fulfilment of the purpose of its existence.It is not only a human Institution but it is also a divinely ordained entity which is guided by the Holy Spirit of God.The history of the Church shows that it is often attempted to be troubled by various schisms , groups and persecutions but it is not crushed by any of its opponents.It arose always from its difficulties as a pheonix well and alive to the bewilderment of the world. It shows that church can always turn to its Master and Spirit of Inspiration,Jesus Christ for recuperation and for impulse and enlivenment.The Canonization of Sr.Alphonsa is such a divine Intervetion of Divine and it is a proof that the Church is guided and supported and strenthened from on High.
The Life of Saint Alphonsa was an epitome of excruciating pain, suffering and agony in her entire life.She knew nothing but suffering in her life but she has understood the meaning and value of suffering .As a true follower of Christ ,she looked to the Cross of her Master, Jesus Christ, and sufferd with Christ, for her brothers and sisters of the entire world and offered her suffering for the emansipation and recreation of world on her Master, Jesus Chirst so that our world becomes a world of God again!
Every Saint tells the world that God has not forgotten it.
The Canonizationof Saint Alphonsa is a shinig example of Hope for all of us of what awaits us for a life that is lived after the example of Jesus Christ!
Postage stamp issued by Indian government in fond memory of Saint Alphonsa.
The Indian government has released a set of commemorative coins to mark the birth centenary of Sister Alphonsa on Aug 23, 2009.