“I do strongly believe that God will not ask us to suffer anything beyond our capacity.”
“You must have the awareness that you are in the presence of God.”
“Don't talk too much. What is the advantage of it? You talk as if you were honest and just. Only God knows the inside and outside.”
“Death will catch hold of us like a thief. Nobody knows at what age and when it happens.. When we die, we have to leave everything here on earth.”
“Love one another; help one another.”
"Suffer all the difficulties patiently and without murmuring."
Today, June 6, we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan (also known as Mother Maria Theresa Chiramel, 1876-1926), Servant of God, foundress of the Congregation of the Holy Family, mystic, and visionary. Mother Mariam Theresa is the fifth person from India to be beatified. James Pazhayattil, Bishop of Irinjalakuda, said of her: “One of the five servants of God who are beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 9 could be a "lookalike" of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Besides the name of baptism, Teresa, have in common not only the foundation of a religious congregation: one of the Missionaries of Charity, the other of the Holy Family, but most of all they both have distinguished service to the disadvantaged: the poor , the sick, the outcast, the dying. Both Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan of Kerala and Mother Teresa of Calcutta sacrificed themselves for others, with a preferential love for the poorest of the poor and so practicing the evangelical virtue of charity in heroic degree.”
Born Thresia, the third of five children, in the village of Puthenchira (Trichur District), Kerala, India, the future Servant of God was called at an early age to devote her life to the Lord. Although her family was once rich and noble, they had fallen on harder times, been forced to sell their property, and lived in poverty. Thresia’s father began drinking heavily, and the family suffered the injustices of poverty and prejudice. Thresia, as a child, turned to the Blessed Mother, praying the Rosary several times each day, and fasting in the likeness of suffering Christ. Despite her mother’s encouragement to eat, given that she had grown quite thin, Thresia persisted in her suffering for the salvation of the world, fasting four times per week, and consecrated herself and her virginity to the Lord
When Thresia was just twelve, her mother died, and she was forced to withdraw from elementary school. While she longed to leave her life, now the caretaker of the family, and retire to a quiet life of prayer and contemplation, this was not to be possible. Rather, she spent hours praying in the community Church, cleaning and decorating the altar. She devoted herself to helping the poor, sick, and lonely of the parish. She risked herself and her health to minister to the abandoned, specifically those with leprosy and small pox, who had no one else to care for them. Despite the family’s poverty, she took in orphaned children, taking extra work to pay for their care.
Thresia and three young companions could be found working among those in need, taking to the streets against custom that women should be accompanied by men when leaving the home. They formed a life of prayer and service, and placed their trust in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Around this time, Thresia began experiencing visions of the Holy Family, which guided her work. She prayed for the conversion of sinners, fasted, and urged all toward repentance. Following a vision of the Blessed Virgin, Thresia requested that all began referring to her as Mariam Thresia, at the request of the Holy Mother.
Mariam was also gifted with mystical and miraculous experiences. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, aura of light, and sweet odor. She experienced frequent ecstasies and levitations. On Fridays, townspeople would gather to see Mariam Thresia lifted high and hanging in the form of a crucifix on the wall of her room. She also bore the stigmata, which she kept secret from all, not wishing further attention. Mariam was further visited upon and tormented by demons throughout her life. She humbly submitted to exorcisms, but also fully embraced the suffering of her temptations, offering suffering for those who sinned.
In 1913, Mariam Thresia was permitted to build a prayer house, that she and her companions moved into. They led a life of prayer and austere penance like hermits but continued to visit the sick and help the poor and the needy irrespective of religion or caste. The new religious order was consecrated the Congregation of the Holy Family (C.H.F.) and Mariam Thresia was appointed its first Superior.
Mother Mariam Thresia died in 1926, at the age of 50, from a wound suffered after being struck by a falling object. Numerous miracles of healing followed her death, and she was beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
From the Beatification Homily of Pope John Paul II:
Convinced that "God will give eternal life to those who convert sinners and bring them to the right path" (Letter 4 to her Spiritual Father), Sister Mariam devoted herself to this task by her visits and advice, as well as by her prayers and penitential practice. Through Bl. Mariam Thresia's intercession, may all consecrated men and women be strengthened in their vocation to pray for sinners and draw others to Christ by their words and example.