Saturday 23rd June 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Alphonsa Of The Immaculate Conception

August 8, 2017 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

There are many different churches that are in full communion with Rome. One of these is in India: the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, India — once called the St. Thomas (the Apostle) Christians. From this tiny group of Catholics have come a growing number of holy men and women recognized by Rome. So far, there are ten servants of God, three venerables, three blesseds, and four saints. St. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception was the first Indian to be canonized.
The noble family of Muttathupadathu of Kudamalar, Changanacherry in India had a terrible shock in 1910. When Maria Puthukari was pregnant she fell asleep only to be wakened when a deadly snake had wrapped itself around Maria’s waist. Screaming with fright, she went into labor and gave birth to Annakutty, the last of her five children, on August 28, 1910. Four weeks premature, little Anna’s life began with the cross. Three months later, her second cross came when her mother died. Then her grandparents took her to Elumparambil, a lovely village overlooking Lake Vembanad in southwest India. Anna’s grandparents were devout Catholics, instilling a deep piety in the child by their teaching and example of service to the poor.
The home in Elumparambil had a special room set aside for prayer, as was customary among both Hindus and Christians in the area. In the evenings the family would gather in it and recite their evening prayers. By the time Anna was five years old, she could lead the prayers with all the joy of the “little ones” of Jesus.
The year that Anna turned seven was full of new experiences for her. The greatest one was that she received her first Holy Communion on November 11, 1917. She was so happy that she exclaimed to her friends, “Do you know why I am so particularly happy today? It is because I have Jesus in my heart!” Furthermore, the precocious child wrote to her spiritual father 26 years later, “Already from the age of seven, I was no longer mine. I was totally dedicated to my divine Spouse.”
For the next three years Anna went to a nearby school where she became close friends with some Hindu children. In 1920 with the completion of the first phase of her education, she was sent to live with her Aunt Anna in Muttuchira, about 15 miles northeast of her hometown. She was sent to her aunt her mother on her deathbed had asked Aunt Anna to take care of little Anna after she died.
Anna suffered under her aunt’s heavy demands for perfection in everything, no matter how trivial. Although her aunt carried out the minimum obligations of a Catholic, she did not possess the deep fervor that her niece had, and she found the girl’s long hours of prayer before Jesus tiresome and weary.
Anna’s aunt lived near the Carmelite monastery and so Anna was able to spend much time there. Despite little Anna’s example of holy living that indicated her desire to become a religious, her aunt worked to arrange a marriage for the girl from the time Anna was ten years old.
Anna endured the rigid and grueling education with the help of the graces earned in her prayer time. This also helped her endure the difficulty of holding steadfast to her refusal to marry.
The pressure to marry became so strong that Anna searched for a way to discourage potential suitors. Thus, she willfully disfigured herself by burning her foot in a heap of red hot embers. She later wrote of this incident, “My marriage was arranged when I was thirteen years old. What had I to do to avoid it? I prayed all that night…then an idea came to me. If I were a little disfigured, no one would want me!…O how I suffered! I offered all for my great intention.”
Her sacrifice did not put an end to the attempts of her aunt to arrange the marriage. Even the mistress of formation at the Carmelites tried to arrange a marriage, although Anna had entered the novitiate and was in her year of probation.
As Anna explained in her journal, she remained fiercely dedicated to her vocation, resisting by the grace of God who “distanced the difficulties and established me in this religious state.”
At this point her confessor, Fr. James Muricken, connected her with the Congregation of the Franciscan Clarists. Thus she entered their house in Bharananganam, about 20 miles east of Muttuchira. She entered on May 24, 1927 and began her postulancy on August 2, 1928.
Since that was the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, for whom she had a great devotion, she took the name Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception. Two years later, when Bishop James Kalacherry made a pastoral visit to Bharananganam on May 19, 1930, she was clothed in the Franciscan habit.
For the next five years she suffered a chronic illness which prevented her from teaching the children except for a brief period in 1932. Instead, she worked as an assistant catechist and served as secretary — she had beautiful handwriting.
Although she could have entered the novitiate in 1934, her ill health delayed the event until 1935. Within the week of her entering, her health rapidly declined with blood flowing from her nose and eyes and wasting wounds on her legs.
Her life seemed at an end. As we know, God’s ways are mysterious and she received a miraculous and instantaneous recovery after a novena prayed to Fr. Kuriakose Elia Chavara (canonized on November 23, 2014). According to Sr. Alphonsa, the saint appeared to her twice.
Sr. Alphonsa then restarted her novitiate writing a set of proposals in her diary ending with, “I will seek refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” She made her perpetual vows on August 12, 1936, and then God led her through a series of sufferings, providing her the opportunity to carry through on her proposals.
As she hoped to do penance and not complain in the midst of suffering, she contracted serious illnesses, one after the other: typhoid fever, double pneumonia, and a nervous shock after a terrible fright that left her incapacitated for more than a year.
Then in 1945 her final tribulation began — one that she endured with a cheerful disposition despite the most agonizing effects of the illness. A large tumor invaded her vital organs, causing digestive and liver problems. These led to vomiting and seizures which occurred about 40 times per day.
She willingly embraced being a victim for Jesus, explaining, “I feel that the Lord has destined me to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering….I consider a day in which I have not suffered as a day lost to me.” Sr. Alphonsa died in pain, but also joy, on July 28, 1946. Her feast is celebrated by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on July 28.
On a pastoral visit to Kottayam, India, Pope St. John Paul II beatified her on February 8, 1986, and Pope Benedict XVI canonized her October 12, 2008 at the Vatican.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops are quick to attack Trump but slow to advise their voters

(RNS) — President Trump had no sooner returned home from his historic photo op with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore when he faced condemnation from a host of religious leaders, from Southern Baptists to African Methodists to Catholics,…Continue Reading

Bishop: Deny Communion to Border Agents. It’s a ‘Life Issue.’

Is enforcing U.S. immigration law a moral evil that demands excommunication? Or would a new proposal politicize the Eucharist, strengthen organized crime, and hurt even more migrant children? Roman Catholics must face these questions after Bishop Edward Weisburger of Tucson suggested “canonical…Continue Reading

Argentina steps closer to legalising abortion

Catholic Argentina’s lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while…Continue Reading

Pope Francis rejects German proposal for inter-communion

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2018 / 06:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One month after Vatican and German delegates met in Rome to discuss a proposal put forward by German bishops to allow Protestant spouses in inter-denominational marriages to receive the Eucharist…Continue Reading

St. Paul archdiocese settlement is largest-ever in Catholic bankruptcy case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to a $210 million settlement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization, making it the second-largest U.S. payout…Continue Reading

Church’s teaching on male-only priesthood is ‘infallible’: Vatican doctrine chief

ROME, May 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican office overseeing Church doctrine has insisted that the Church’s teaching on the male-only priesthood is “infallible,” and has offered a veiled rebuke of a prominent Cardinal who recently claimed the…Continue Reading

The revolt against Humanae Vitae continues to haunt us today

ROME, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As in 2017, 2018 is also a year that is rich with important and significant anniversaries which we need to remember, because the roots of the present are found in the past. The best known…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Communion cannot be shared with non-Catholics like beer or cake

BUCKFASTLEIGH, England, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Protestants who want to receive Holy Communion should become Catholics, Cardinal Francis Arinze said this week, and added that “it is rather serious” to presume marriage can be dissolved for the purpose of…Continue Reading

Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke responds to Francis: We hand-delivered dubia letter to Pope’s residence

ROME, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Reuters in an interview which appeared yesterday, Pope Francis criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals who joined him in begging the Pope for clarification on key issues of faith. The cardinals used the long-standing ecclesial practice of issuing dubia, or questions to the Pope. There were five such questions altogether. But, according to Reuters the Pope said that “he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him…Continue Reading

GOOD NEWS . . .Fr. Phillips Exonerated

We have confirmation that after several weeks the Congregation of the Resurrection has indeed concluded its hearings and investigation of the accusations directed against Father Phillips. An independent Review Board of three public-spirited leaders from the Chicago area, who are not members of St. John Cantius Church, was constituted. Thereafter, the Review Board interviewed the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who

Cardinal Brandmüller Questions Francis’ Claim Not to Have Received the Dubia Before Publication

Today, on 20 June, Reuters published a new interview with Pope Francis. Although the interview is making headlines because of the Pope’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, it also contains another controversial assertion: the pope surprisingly now claims that he only heard about the Dubia (concerning his document Amoris Laetitia) “from the newspapers” — a claim that Dubia cardinal Walter Brandmüller has now questioned in comments to OnePeterFive. From the text of the interview: The pope also commented on internal criticism of his…Continue Reading

US Cardinal removed after ‘credible’ allegation he abused a minor

NEW YORK, June 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A high-profile liberal U.S. cardinal has been removed from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former priest of the Archdiocese of New York and cardinal emeritus of Washington D.C., “is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” says a news release from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “The review board found the allegations credible and substantiated,” Dolan’s statement said. “The Vatican…Continue Reading

Trump Admin Withdraws U.S. From UN Human Rights Council That Pushed Global Right to Abortion

The Trump Administration announced today that the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council. That’s good news for pro-life advocates as the so-called human rights organization pushed for a global right to kill unborn children in abortions. According to news reports: The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the United Nations Human Rights Council, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling the 47-member council “a protector of human rights abusers, an

Advertisement(2)

But What Happened To The News Coverage? . . . Pope Says Homosexual Couples Are Not A Family

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue on June 18 commented on remarks by Pope Francis that have been censored by the media.) + + + Pope Francis says gay couples cannot be considered a family. The media know he said this but, with few exceptions, they refused to run this story.…Continue Reading

Holy Bashfulness Vs. Shame By ALICE von HILDEBRAND

My dear young friend, Years ago, Cardinal O’Boyle was discussing some sexual matters with a group of men; all of a sudden the cardinal noticed that a young girl had joined the group, and interrupting his talk, he said to her: “Please excuse me.” But he was immediately rudely rebuked by one of the men…Continue Reading

On The Role Of Beauty In The Spiritual Life

By JAMES MONTI In recent years, thanks largely to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the role of beauty in the sacred liturgy — and the appalling chasm created by its absence — has been a topic of frequent discussion among those concerned with a restoration of the sacred in divine worship — the beauty of the…Continue Reading

Civil Court… Rules Fulton Sheen’s Remains Can Go To Peoria

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — The Superior Court of New York ruled June 8 in favor of Joan Sheen Cunningham, who had petitioned to move the body of her uncle, Venerable Fulton Sheen, to the Cathedral of St. Mary in Peoria. The body of the late archbishop is currently in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New…Continue Reading

Lindsey Graham’s Unjustifiable Call for War

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributed this column.) + + + Question: Has North Korea reinvaded South Korea since it signed an armistice 65 years ago suspending the Korean War? Answer: No. Question: Why? Answer: It has been deterred. Question: Would it…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Following up on a recent question about a divorced and remarried non-Catholic adult who converts to the Catholic Church, you said that the conversion would not change the status of the person, that he would still be married to his previous spouse and could not marry again without a decree of nullity or the death of the first spouse.…Continue Reading

None Dare Call It Treason

By DEACON JAMES TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of…Continue Reading

The Glorious St. John The Baptist

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Nativity Of St. John The Baptist (YR B) Readings Isaiah 49:1-6 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66, 80 Today we celebrate the birth of a man who is important to us in a variety of ways. St. John the Baptist is, according to our Lord’s own words, the greatest man born of woman. For this…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Will Marriages Outside A Church Keep Couples In The Church?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church makes exceptions to its own rules; this is well known. There are God’s rules, such as the Commandments, exceptions to which cannot be granted by man. And then there are the regulations promulgated by the Church, using the authority given her by the Lord, in order to better facilitate the pastoral work of…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Understanding Confession More Deeply

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 33 When Jesus gave the apostles the power to bind and unbind things here on Earth (Matt. 18:18), He gave them authority over His flock. Hence, from the very first century, Popes and bishops passed laws to be observed by the people. Consequently, considering the seriousness of sin, and the risk many take for…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Cafasso

By CAROLE BRESLIN Truman Capote wrote: “Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” More important, grace is a chain of grace with one grace leading to another. And holiness a chain of holiness as God pours His love through one person to another, as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, pours…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph The Hymnographer

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late sixth and early seventh century, the glories of Gregorian chant began to develop in Rome. Then, in the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote beautiful hymns to celebrate Corpus Christi and to honor the Real Presence. In the Eastern Church, around Constantinople, they also sang hymns, but it was not until the late ninth…Continue Reading