Pope Benedict XVI has given the Roman Catholic church four new saints, including an Indian woman, Sister Alphonsa whose canonization is seen as a morale boost to Christians in India. Catholics are a tiny minority in India and thousands of faithful, including an Indian delegation, turned out for Sunday’s ceremony in St. Peter’s Square. (Watch these canonization video clips for more details on the canonization).
The honour for Sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, the first Indian woman to become a saint, comes as Christians increasingly have been the object of attacks from Hindus in eastern and southern India. Pope Benedict XVI raised concern over the attacks on Christians in some states of India. “My prayers are with Christians there (in India) in these difficult times,” said Pope. (Watch the Video below to see Pope Benedict XVI addressing all Indians, in English)
Recently, there have been attacks on the Christian community in Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The attacks began after the death of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanand Saraswati at Kandhmal in Orissa, India.
Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, had beatified Alphonsa during a pilgrimage to India in 1986. Beatification is the last formal step before sainthood, the Church’s highest honour for its faithful. Alphonsa, a nun from southern India, was 35 when she died in 1946.
Many Indians, mostly Malayalees came to Rome to see their beloved Si.Alphosa become St. Alphonsa. Because St. Alphonsa lived in Kerala, (God’s Own Country) in India and the people there are called Malayalees as they speak the language Malayalam. There was even a malayalam song sung by Keralites on the occassion of Canonization in Rome.
The other three new saints are:– Gaetano Errico, a Neapolitan priest who founded a missionary order in the 19th century; Sister Maria Bernarda, born Verena Buetler in Switzerland in 1848, who worked as a nun in Ecuador and Colombia; and Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, a 19th century laywoman from Ecuador who helped the sick and the poor.
“May their examples give us encouragement, their teachings give us direction and comfort,” Benedict said in his homily.
We all know Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun from India. The ethnic Albanian came to India as a young woman to work with India’s most desperately poor, mostly in Calcutta, India. She died in 1997 and John Paul beatified her in 2003. So now, all Indians are expecting their next saint in Mother Teresa, even though they realize that there are lots of procedures for sainthood even after beatification.
St. Alphonsa Canonization Videos given above, all the 4 videos, will give you a clear picture of the canonization. And if you want to see the pictures, then here are they – – – St Alphonsa Canonization Pictures