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ASCETICS WHO SANCTIFIED OURTIMES - St. Alphonsa



OOMMEN CHANDY
Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala



"St. Alphonsa and beatified mother Terasa led an exemplary life of prayerful service. They took to an uncommon kind of dedication that made them dear to their creator and their fellow humans. Their hallowed views steered their selfless service by which they became the torchbearers of an epoch. Their ways were not the same though each of them was noted for their habit of perfection. St Alphonsa was born into a middle class farmer’s family in Kerala. She withdrew into the cloistered retreat, away from the haunt of public life. She was perpetually a professed bride of the lamb of God. She resolved to pursue the way of the cross in her every day life. So she could find peace and perseverance in divine solace despite her deadly ailments. Death failed to conquer her. The servant of God was beatified. She is the first Indian to join the ranks of the saints of the church.

St. Alphonsa spent most of her sister days within the confines of a convent. She found refuge in a mystical union with the almighty. She never complained when painful illnesses grained at her frail health. For she had learnt to trust in providence that wills the fall of a sparrow. In this, she had come to experience the peace that passeth understanding. Prayer had became the be-all and end-all of her life, prayer especially, to the sacred heart of Jesus, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She told the rosary over and over and over again, for the good of the world. Hardly had she gone through half her earthly journey when she entered into celestial bliss. Her showers of blessings continue to grace us. From an inland village in Kerala, St. Alphonsa rose to spiritual eminence to lighten the world through her example of silent suffering, self-renunciation, and prayerful meditation. A mood of piety and simplicity! One who could fill the hearts of the faithful with divine grace. An enduring symbol of love and kindness, is the mother of Bharamanganam, St. Alphonsa.

Beatified Mother Teresa is close to canonization. While on earth she was hailed a saint by all and sundry. The daughter of a grocer by birth, she chose Culcutta as her prime field of mission. She founded the Missionaries of Charity to work among the poorest of the poor. From the contemplative confines of the convent, she came out into the din and bustle of public life. The streets lanes and gutters of Culcutta tried and tested her missionary tenacity. She sought to make life meaningful to the orphans and widows. She was Mother to the helpless and the hopeless, the neglected and the destitute, the disabled and the dying . She tapped the generosity of service to the least of their fellows. Her consoling alms caressed millions around the world. Her humanitarian ministry went out of ‘Nirmalhriday’ in Culcutta, to countries and continents across the globe, wherever relief was in utmost need. The world steadily showered honours upon these Mother of the Destitutes. The Nobel Prize for peace, the Templeton Award, the Bharat Ratna, and several others. Every honour she received but catered to the honour of the deprived and the abandoned.

Mother Teresa’s charity knew no bounds set by castle and community, region and religion. All humankind was one family to her; all service to the needy was service to God. The Mother personally tended those who came to her. An angel in a blue-bordered white sari!

St. Alphonsa and blessed Mother Teresa do impart rare spiritual charm to India. Through intense prayer and selfless service they have boosted the lives of their fellow beings. India is indeed proud of these two daughters of hers. One, native, and the other, naturalized. Two Indians who fittingly become the grant ascetic tradition of this great land. And a perpetual source of inspiration for everyone, everywhere!"