India Soon to Have Its First Woman Saint

March 09, 2008 06:26 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Roman Catholic Church will recognize Sister Alphonsa of Kerala as a saint in October 2008, the first woman from India to be canonized.

30-Second Summary

On March 1, Pope Benedict XVI stated that Sister Alphonsa, a nun from Kerala in southern India, will be accorded sainthood on Oct. 12, reported the Catholic News Agency.

Along with announcing plans to canonize Sister Alphonsa and three others, the Vatican tightened procedures for designating saints, reported Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Born Anna Muttathupandathu in 1910, Sister Alphonsa was a member of the Congregation of Poor Clares, a Franciscan order. She died in 1946.

Sister Alphonsa is widely revered in India. “Catholics, but also non-Catholics and even non-Christians, were speaking about her,” Vatican official Father Bernard J O'Connor told the BBC. “I think she is a symbol of a kind of religious sensitivity and charity that touches ordinary peoples' lives."

In 1986, Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Alphonsa, the first step toward making her a saint. He said she had “great pain and suffering during her life,” and “it is through this suffering that she made her path to holiness,” according to the Vatican. Her followers believe she was miraculously cured in 1936, says the Alphonsa Web site.

Sister Alphonsa will become a saint before Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Theresa died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003. But her followers have not yet been able to meet all of the criteria for her canonization, CNN reports.

Sister Alphonsa will be the second saint from India, joining Saint Gonsalo Garcia, a Franciscan lay brother from Bassein, writes the Alphonsa Web site.

Headline Links: Indian nun to be canonized

‘Catholics to receive four new saints in October’
‘Vatican to Canonize Indian Woman’
Vatican tightens procedures for recognizing sainthood

Background: Her path to sainthood

Related Topics: ‘Pope beatifies Mother Teresa’

Reference: Becoming a saint, Catholicism, and the devil's advocate

‘How Does Someone Become a Saint?’
The devil's advocate

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