Indian nun Mariam Thresia and four others were declared Saints by Pope Francis at a grand ceremony at the Vatican City on Sunday. Mariam Thresia, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Thrissur in May 1914, was raised to the highest position within the centuries-old institution during the ceremony at the St Peter's Square.
The ceremony included a Latin hymn and a recommendation by a representative of the Congregation for the Saints.
"Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new Saints," Pope Francis told the gathering.
The nun from Kerala was canonised along with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Swiss laywoman Marguerite Bays, Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes and Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini.
Huge portraits of the five new Saints were hung from Saint Peter's Basilica during the ceremony, which was attended by tens of thousands of devotees. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan led the Indian delegation at the ceremony. The event was also attended by Prince Charles.
Who was Mariam Thresia?
With Sunday's canonisation, the centuries-old Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala now has four Saints, the first being Sister Alphonsa, who was declared a saint in 2008. Others are Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara, popularly known as Chavara Achen, and Sister Euphrasia, popularly known as Evuprasiamma, who were declared Saint by the Pope in 2014.
Mariam Thresia was called during the first half of her life simply Thresia, the name given to her at baptism on May 3, 1876.
Since 1904, she wanted to be called Mariam Thresia as she believed that she was asked to add "Mariam" to her name by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a vision.
And it was as Mariam Thresia that she was professed in 1914, the foundress and first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family.
The Church has declared her as one of the rare holy persons who moved constantly and consciously among the inhabitants of this world as well as with visitors from the world above and below.
Sister Thresia died on June 8, 1926, at the age of 50 and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on April 9, 2000.
Pope Francis on February 12 authorised a decree recognising a miracle through her intercession, which cleared her for sainthood.
On July 1, the Pope decided on October 13, as the canonization day.
In his 'Mann ki Baat' radio programme on September 29, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had referred to Sister Mariam Thresia and said it is a matter of pride for every Indian that, on the coming October 13, Pope Francis will declare her a saint.
"Sister Thresia, in her short lifespan of 50 years, worked for the good of humanity becoming a noble example for the entire world. Whatever task Sister Mariam Thresia undertook and accomplished, she did so with utmost dedication and devotion," Modi had said.
(With PTI inputs)