Archive for the ‘Indians’ Category

“Love Made Flesh on Earth”: Mother Petra Moeinngmann

June 23, 2009

From Indian Catholic:

KANNUR, India : Catholics in Kannur, southern India, are celebrating after the local bishop began the process of having a much-loved German nun declared a saint.

Bishop Varghese Chakkalakal of Kannur declared Mother Petra Moeinngmann a Servant of God during a Mass on June 14.

The declaration precedes a three-stage process by which a sainthood candidate may be declared “Venerable,” then proclaimed “Blessed,” and lastly canonized.


The saintly nun was “love made flesh on earth,” retired Bishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Trichur said, while officiating at the Mass. “There was nothing extraordinary about her, but her love for the poor and sick was remarkable,” said the bishop who had worked with the nun.


Mother Petra joined a German Ursuline congregation in 1957. According to Sister Vandana, postulator of Mother Petra’s sainthood cause, the late nun was moved by the stories she heard about the poor in India and decided to leave her teaching profession to travel to Kerala in 1966.

She served at a Catholic hospital in Kottayam and later founded her congregation to help the poor. Each of the congregation’s 85 convents runs either an orphanage, a home for the elderly, a dispensary or schools for mentally handicapped people, said Sister Vandana.

Mother Petra died in a road accident in 1976 in Kannur.

Full story here.


More evidence of the massive popularity and effective witness of the new saint

November 20, 2008
Saint Alphonsa Inspires Young Women To Become Nuns
November 14, 2008

BHARANANGANAM, India (UCAN) — Women just entering the Franciscan Clarists and others confirming their life commitment say India’s first woman saint inspired them to join Religious life.

The story of Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception “motivated me to join a convent,” said Sister Helen, one of three Kenyan nuns who on Nov. 8 made their perpetual vows as full-fledged members of the saint’s congregation.

At the same function, 98 Indian novices also received their Religious habit, a sign of their provisional entry into the congregation. The ceremonies took place in Bharananganam, the village in Kerala state where the saint spent her final years, 2,650 kilometers south of New Delhi.

(Full article here.)

Celebrating Sr. Alphonsa

November 11, 2008

I’ve mentioned here before that there is clearly a very deep interest and devotion to the newly canonized Sr. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception that we’re not very aware of here in the Church in America.  (Or at least my little corner of it!) 

This article, published Sunday, makes that point well:

Over 100,000 take part in function for Saint Alphonsa

Kottayam (Kerala), Nov 9 (IANS) Over 100,000 people Sunday evening took part in a celebration at the St. Mary’s Church, Bharananganam, which has the tomb of Saint Alphonsa.It was on Oct 12 that Blessed Sister Alphonsa was canonized at a function held in the Vatican and became the first native Indian to be canonized.

Four New Saints!

October 12, 2008

The Church has four new saints!  The first canonizations in sixteen months took place at the Vatican this morning. 

Pope Benedict canonized Sr. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception (a 20th century nun from India), Mary Bernard Butler (a 19th/20th century nun from Switzerland), Gaetano Errico (a 19th century Italian priest), and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran (a 19th century laywoman from Ecuador).  (Click the links on the names to get to the Vatican’s official bios of each saint.)

I’ve mentioned Sr. Alphonsa and Narcisa of Jesus on this blog before, having spoken about them during my monthly visit to Sacred Heart Radio’s Son Rise morning show.  These two canonizations in particular seem to be confirming what much rich popular devotion has already expressed, especially among Catholics of their two home countries. 

Frankly, though, it’s Sr. Alphonsa whose popularity is massive.  This was seen at the canonization Mass today.  Also in the amount of coverage of today’s event that’s devoted particularly to her — and the huge percentage of people stopping by this blog in recent days having found their way here by an internet search for “Sr. Alphonsa.”  (Welcome to all!)

Let us pray with Pope Benedict (from his homily today): “May their example encourage us; may their teachings guide and comfort us; may their intercession support us in our daily struggles, so that we too may come one day to share with them and with all the saints in the joy of the eternal banquet in the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Mother’s Feast

September 5, 2008

Today is the feast of Mother Teresa.  I hope the novena prayers I posted these past nine days have been helpful.  (They’re from Saints for Our Times.)

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Soon-to-Be Saints

September 2, 2008

Welcome to any visitors who have found their way here today through Sacred Heart Radio or its blog. This morning, I talked with Brian Patrick on his Son Rise morning show about developments in the canonization causes of three important figures in Church history. (As I noted last week here, I’ll be chatting with Brian once a month on the topic of up-and-coming-saints’ causes.) 

Here’s a summary, with some additional resources for you:

1. The remains of Cardinal John Henry Newman (that’s him in the photo) will soon be moved from its cemetery plot to a special tomb inside Birmingham Oratory, a strong indicator of Vatican interest in a beatification that happens sooner rather than later.  My most personal connection to him is that his The Idea of a University was required reading in one of my college courses.  It was tough-going, but taught me a lot about thinking, learning, education, and being a person in society.

WordPress is being cranky, not letting me embed the video here, but there’s a news clip on Newman from a British station here.

2. In just over a month (on October 12, 2008), Pope Benedict will canonize Sr. Alphonsa Muttathupadathu (also known, thankfully!, as Sr. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception) along with three other blesseds.  She is especially noteworthy because most reports are identifying her as the first saint of India.  (On the other hand, St. Gonsalo Garcia was the son of an Indian mother and Portugese father, born in India in 1556 and canonized with 25 other martyrs by Pope Pius IX in 1862.)  Sr. Alphonsa, a Poor Clare nun who lived most of her life in a sickbed, died at age 36 in 1946.  Her tomb is already a well-established pilgrimage site in India. 

There’s a news clip on her from an Indian tv station here.

3. The beatification of Louis and Zelie Martin is set for one week later (October 19).  Their biggest claim to fame is only that they’re the parents of the one of the most famous and well-loved saints in the entire history of the Church.  As a parent of 7, I’ll take this one as, at least implicitly, recognition of the important role of parents in their children’s moral and spiritual formation. 

I posted a little video on them about two weeks ago, here.

Let’s pray a novena together

August 27, 2008

The feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is approaching.  It falls on September 5, which will this year be the 11th anniversary of her death. 

For the nine days leading up to her feast, I’ll be posting the novena to her that appears in my Saints for Our Times: New Novenas and Prayers.

Perhaps we should pray in a special way for people whose lived will be endangered by Hurricane Gustav in the days ahead, for God’s guidance in our political system, for peace in the world, and for a respect for human life in our day.  You’re welcome to join me in the prayer.