Places & Persons
Blessed by the footsteps and preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal born in Kattoor
Blessed Mariam thresia born in Puthenchira
Servant of Fr. God Canisius Thekkekara CMI
Kodungallur Blessed by the footsteps and preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Blessed by the footsteps and preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle. Kodungallur is blessed by the footsteps and preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle. He landed here in A.D 52 and established one church. It is called the cradle of Christianity of India. Now there is a famous shrine at Azhikode dedicated to the Apostle where the relic fore-arm of St Thomas, brought from Ortona, Italy, by H.Em. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant in 1953, is kept for veneration. Devotees crowd there to pay homage and get favours from the holy and historically important place. C.M.I Fathers are in charge of the Pontifical Shrine.
During Apostolic times there were well frequented trade routes, by land and / or water, connecting North-West India (today Pakistan), the West Coast and the East Coast, with North Africa and West Asia. Thus Alexandria, Aden, Socotra, Ormuz, Ctesiphon, Caesarea, Taxila, Broach, Kodungallur (Muziris) and even Rome were inter-linked.
The growth of Christianity in Kerala along the sea-coast and its geographical dispersion indicate the importance of Kodungallur in the spread of the gospel message in Kerala and India. According to the strong Kerala tradition as found embedded in the Ramban Song and in the collective consciousness of the whole land and people irrespective of creed or denomination Kodungallur (Maliamkara) was the headquarters of Apostle St. Thomas from where he organised and operated his various mission projects and apostolic journeys to the various mission centres. There were a number of factors that must have prompted the saint to make Kodungallur his mission headquarters. For example he himself had first landed in the land of Kerala in Chera country and our India at Kodungallur. Even if he had gone to the land of King Gondophares earlier, as far as present day India is concerned it was Kodungallur that first came into contact with the Apostle and his message. And the possibility that the Apostle might have first come to Kodungallur itself, the port most accessible to foreign ships, and primum emporium Indiae, before embarking for Taxila or Gandhara along the coastal route could not be totally rejected. more
Kattoor Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal born in Kattoor
Saint Euphrasia is a humble CMC nun who has personalized the prayer heritage of Carmel and lived according to the divine inspirations and rose to the heights of sanctity. For all of us who are called to be the beloved of God that is to be saints(Rom: 1:7), the spirit-filled life of Bl. Euphrasia is an example and to take a peep into her holy life would be proper and useful. Rosa was born as the daughter of Elavuthinkal Antony and Kunjethi on 17 October, 1877 in Kattur which was in the undivided Trichur Diocese and now in the Diocese of Irinjalakuda. Besides three brothers, Rosa had a sister also, but she died in early childhood. Even in the midst of all wealth and pomp in the family, little Rosas heart desired only God. A good evidence of this is her offer of her virginity to God at the tender age of 9. After overcoming many obstacles she was able by the grace of God to become a member of the boarding of the kerala Carmelite Congregation in (founded by Bl. Kuriakose Elias Chavara in 1866) at Koonammavu. In those days the Koonammavu boarding was the only place of virtue where the girls who desire religious life can go. There the boarding started in 1868 was taught orderly life and education and practice of virtue besides other handicrafts also were taught. This was a very good training place for the girls who desired religious life. The Koonammavu convent was under the administration of Trichur Vicariate, started in 1887, but in the re-division of the vicariate (Trichur, Ernakulam, Changanassery) it came under the Ernakulum diocese. The first native Bishop of the Trichur diocese Mar John Menachery brought the sisters who belonged to Trichur diocese from Koonammavu. They were taken to the newly founded st. Josephs convent Ambazhakkad, the first Carmelite convent of the undivided Trichur diocese. Here on 10 May, 1897 the head-dress was given to Rosa Elavuthinkal who received the new religious name, Euphrasia of the sacred Heart of Jesus.
One of the important things that happened before coming to Trichur is to be noted here. This child, Rosa was always troubled by many serious sicknesses. From one such a very serious illness, she was saved by a miraculous vision of the Holy Family. The details of this vision and the reasons why she was allowed to continue in the convent were written in a letter by Sr Agnes, the then mother superior and sent through the sisters to Mar John Menachery the Bishop. This letter was the cause to have special attention towards this nun and also to cause the Bishop to order her to report her spiritual state truly to him regularly. This virtuous virgin after receiving the Carmelite dress from Mar John Menachery on 10 January, 1898 began to deepen in personal love for Lord Jesus. On 24 May 1900, the St. Marys convent Ollur was founded. That day itself Sr. Euphrasia along with others made her perpetual profession in this new convent and surrounded her whole self to Jesus.
The period from 1904-1910 when Sr. Euphrasia was the Asst. Superior of St. Marys convent Ollur and in-charge of the novices was a period of innumerable graces. When in the congregation officially novitiate was started it was Sr. Euphrasia who was selected to be the first novice mistress. It was at this time that the order of Mar John Menachery Mariam Thressia who is today among the blessed came to stay at the Ollur convent in order to discern her vocation. It was mother Euphrasia who was the novice mistress who gave the necessary formation to Mariam Thressia. More than mistress and disciple it was the coming together of two holy saintly souls guided by the Holy Spirit. In the deep experience of God both of them were great friends. Mother Euphrasia who was appointed superior of the St. Marys convent Ollur from 1913-1916 served the sisters under her authority in a very exemplary way. She was able to do loving and kind services to all those who came into contact with her because of the divine love she received from the Holy Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and her devotion to Mother Mary.
Mother Euphrasia grew in humility, poverty and holiness as she completely obeyed the will of God every moment. The whole life of this virgin was full of continuous prayer, penance and reparation. Mother Euphrasia who found contentment in loving Jesus, her divine spouse was always in the forefront in receiving censure and abuses. All those who approached her she helped with motherly love, prayer and good advice. This prayer help she extended to souls in purgatory also. After a long life of 75 years, Euphrasia, the praying mother passed away in the convent at Ollur on 29 August, 1952. It was a wonder that the church bell at Cheralayam parish began to ring without stop at her death. To all those who prayed her intercession, the one who never forgets even after death, granted graces. God is revealing her great heavenly intercessory power through miracles and signs. This holy virgin who desired to become an unknown saint is raised today to the glory of the altar by the Almighty and the sweet fragrance of her sanctity is spread worldwide.
Puthenchira Blessed Mariam thresia born in Puthenchira
Puthenchira adjacent to Kodungallur is of ancient Christianity tracing their origin to AD 400. The seat of Archdiocese of Kodungallur from 1701 to 1771 was at Puthenchira. The then Archbisops lived in the presbytery at Puthenchira. On their demise there, the mortal remains of Most Rev. Dr. Rebeiro S.J., Dr. Antony Pimentel, Dr. John Aloysius Vasconels and Dr. Salvador Dos Rays were intered in the floor of St Mary’s Forane Church at Puthenchira. In those days water-transport from Kodungallur to Puthenchira was very popular.
Blessed Mariam Thresia, the foun-dress of the Holy Family Congregation hails from Puthenchira. She lived from 1876 to 1926. Together with Fr. Joseph Vithayathil, the vicar, she founded the Holy Family Congregation for sisters. The house wherein she lived, things she used and the dress with demarcations of her stigmata have been preserved intact now. Her mortal remains are re-interred at Kuzhikattussery convent chapel. Mother Mariam Thresia was beatified on 9th April 2000 and her cause for canonization is in due progress. The cause of S. D.Rev. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil is in the inetial process.
Anandapuram Servant of Fr. God Canisius Thekkekara CMI
Fr. Canisius was born on May 12, 1914 as the seventh and the youngest child of Lonappan and Mariam in the family of Thekkekara Pothaparambil in Anandapuram parish in the diocese of Irinjalakuda. He was baptized on June 6, 1914 with the baptismal name Ouseph. His father, Lonappan was known for his hard working nature and sense of justice, and his mother Mariam was admired for her piety and affectionate nature. According to Fr.Canisius he learned the ideal of his life, “God’s will… that alone … that in full” from his parents. With gratitude he testified, “The most important grace that the Lord bestowed on me is my father and mother. Their law of life was this: God’s Will: All of it and that alone.”
Ouseph Joined the congregation of CMI as an Aspirant and completed his matriculation at St.Joseph’s High School, Pavaratty. Subsequently he went through the religious formation imparted in the Novitiate of CMI congregation at Ampazhakkad and made his First Profession on 24 November 1935. The religious name he was given at the time on the First Profession was Canisius of St.Teresa. In the Novitiate his Novice Master was Rev. Bartholomew, a saintly Father who was later elected to the post of Prior General of CMI congregation.
Brother Canisius was chosen to do his philosophical and theological studies outside Kerala, at the well known St. Joseph’s Seminary, Mangalore, Karnataka State. On 23 January 1938, Bro. Canisius made his final profession during his ecclesiastical studies. His Seminary Master was Rev. Fr. Maurus, known for his holy life and administrative skill, who was later twice elected Prior General of the congregation. Brother Canisius, on successful completion of the required studies in Philosophy and Theology, reached the realization of his long-cherished and joyful moment of Ordination and was ordained a Priest on 21 December 1942.
After the Priestly Ordination Fr. Canisius took his Doctor of Divinity degree at Kandy in 1945, and in 1952 he secured D.S.S (Doctor in Sacred Scripture) from the Biblical Institute in Rome. His doctoral thesis was Cardinal Seripando: an Exegete and Biblical Theologian. Thus he became the first ever Indian and second Asian who was awarded with doctorate in Sacred Scripture. Fr.Canisius has authored a few books, rich in content and theological insights and a few biographical sketches and prayer books.