From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Mariam Thresia
Mains level : Significance of the said sainthood
- Kerala-born Catholic nun Mariam Thresia was recently declared a saint by Pope Francis in Rome.
- She is the third nun and fourth clergy member from Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church, one of the prominent eastern churches under the Vatican, to be canonized into the league of saints.
- Here is a look at Mariam Thresia, sainthood and its long-winded process, and those waiting to be elevated as saints in India.
- Mariam Thresia was born in the Chiramel Mankidiyan family in Puthenchira village of Thrissur district in 1876. She died in 1926 at the age of 50.
- She began a life of prayer at an early age, and longed for a life of seclusion.
- As she led the life of mystic, Thresia worked to provide solace to the sick, and offered charity to the poor in the village.
- She wanted to become a nun, and joined the Order of Franciscan Poor Clares.
- Later, upon realizing that she wanted to lead a life dedicated to prayers, Thresia, in 1913, formed a community “House of Solitude” along with a few others.
- That was the beginning of the Congregation of Holy Family, which later grew into a prominent religious congregation of nuns.
- In 1975, the Church began the process of her canonisation. She was declared venerable in 1999 and was beatified in 2000.
What sainthood means
- It is titled that is conferred posthumously. Once a person is canonized as a saint, he or she is venerated in the Church.
- Then, churches and church-run institutions can be named after such persons, and Christian children can adopt the names of these saints at the time of baptism.
- The relics of the person declared as saint are venerated, and festivals are held in their names. Their places of birth, death, and burial become centres of pilgrimage.
- The Catholic Church has a very long list of saints that has been under preparation from the beginning of the Church.
- Saints in the early centuries after Christ had been martyrs who died after persecution by the Roman Empire.
- Later, those who lived pious lives and stood for the Christian faith were also made saints.
- There are Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, ordinary men and women among the long list of saints.
Making of a saint
- The making of a Catholic saint is a long process.
- The early saints did not go through any formal procedures, but in the 17th century, the Church introduced guidelines for declaring a person as saint.
- The guidelines were subsequently revised.
Saints in India
- With the elevation of Mariam Thresia as saint, there are now 11 saints connected with the country, according to the official data of the Church.
- Of the eleven, Gonsalo Garcia, born in India to Portuguese parents in Mumbai in 1557, is considered to have been the first India-born saint.
- In 2008, Kerala-born Sister Alphonsa was declared as the first woman Catholic saint from India. Mother Teresa had a fast-track to sainthood when she was canonized in 2016.
Waiting in a long queue
- In the category of the Blessed, a step before that of sainthood, there are six individuals at the moment.
- They include Devasahayam Pillai, a Hindu layman who converted to Christianity, hailing from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu. He died in 1752.
- In the category of Venerable, there are 11 persons from across the country.
- And there are 42 persons from the Catholic Church in the country in the list of Servants of God.