Posts Tagged ‘catholicism

11
Oct
08

St. Alphonsa, An icon for Indian Catholics

Growing up in Kerala, I used to see her pictures all around mine and my relatives houses. I was told that she was a great lady who led a pious life serving the poor and the destitute. According to one story, she led such a divine life, that for her first confession she had nothing to confess to the priest. It will be a proud moment tomorrow for Catholics around India, especially Keralites when Alphonsa Muttapadathu will be venerated as a saint by His Holiness Benedict XVI. Alphonsamma to the faithful, she will be the first Indian woman to be canonized. She will also be the first Catholic saint from among the Syrian Christian community.  

Alphonsamma’s life was one full of hardships. Born in Kudumaloor near Kottayam, Kerala as Annakutty in 1910, she lost her mother at an early age. She was since raised by her aunt. Her great-uncle Father Muttathupadathu took interest in her and  taught her to lead a life serving Lord Jesus. She grew up setting her mind to be a nun and serve God. Her father opposed her decison to follow the religious order. When he forced her to marry, she jumped into a burning chaff  which left her permanently disabled. She later achieved her goal of servitude when received the postulant’s veil at Bharananganam in 1928. Although she used to teach at the local schools, she was largely unable to do so because of a decline in her health. She was reportedly cured from her ailments through the intervention of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. But later her health continued to deterioate because of illnesses like pneumonia and amnesia. Although she managed to regain her memory, her health was still a concern. She later developed stomach ailments and finally left for her heavenly abode in 1946.

After her death, her tomb at Bharananganam became a pilgrimage center and is still thronged by millions of devotees. It is believed that many have got cured thorough her intervention. In 1999 a handicapped boy was cured of his club foot after offering prayers at her tomb. This miracle led to her canonization. She had in 1986 become Blessed Alphonsa. St. Alphonsa as she will be known from tomorrow, is patron saint for the sick, orphans and people suffering from illnesses.

04
Oct
08

Shame on You, Naveen Patnaik!

I wake up today morning to read this shocking news on Times of India – 38 days on, Patnaik govt admits nun’s rape. I was under the impression that Naveen Patnaik was one of the better politicians India has had, until this headline that is. A young Christian nun in Orissa was raped and paraded on the streets by Hindu fundamentalists. And more than a month for the govt to acknowledge that something of such magnituda happened. It is disgusting to say the least. The police could only stand and stare as such a heinous crime was committed right in front of their eyes. Christians in the state are living in a state of fear. Sangh Parivar and Bajrang Dal activists are out on a witch hunt for them. The state govt has so far been only a mute spectator.

After 38 long days, Patnaik commented that the rape was “shameful” and a “savage” act and “stringent action” would be taken against the culprits. Wasn’t the crime shameful or stringent for the last 38 days. And I am sure even after 24 hours since his comments, not one person would have been arrested. And what about the Central govt? Dr. Manmohan Singh is worried about the country’s image being tarnished because of the communal violence in the country, not about the innocent Christians who are being persecuted for no mistake of theirs. If the UPA govt calls itself “secular”, they take appropriate action against the Orissa govt. Central forces should be sent the state to maintain peace.

Apparently, as the poor nun was paraded along the streets, the self claimed ‘protectors’ of India’s culture were shouting “Bharat Matha Ki Jay”!! Is this what Bharat Matha should be proud about? The monsters who committed the atrocity should not just be killed, but tortured and burned alive. And these fanatic bastards are protesting the bombings in the county. What is the difference between the terrorists and the Sangh Parivar. Both are propogating violence in the name of religion. But any sane individual would think that nether Allah nor Ram in no way favor such fundamentalism. Why are Christians being targetted? So afr, as long as I know, we have been only working towards the betterment of the society. The maximum number of educational and health insitutions in the country have been set up by Christian organizations. What wrong have we done to the country and its people apart from serving?