Souvenir

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A Gem Unveiled to Christendom by Mr. V.P. Varghese M.A., Retd. Municipal Commissionaire, Chittur.

The outstanding quality in Mariam Thresia was her purifying element manifested throughout her life. It is the law of Nature that when society is tainted and contaminated and polluted with unwanted residues the purifying element will appear vigorously to set things right. To establish “Human right Bill” for the emancipation of Negroes there was a John Kennedy. To free India from the yoke of foreign rule there was a Mahatma Gandhi. To liberate Russia from the clutches of communism there was a Michael Gorbacfhevu. Similarly history assigned such a purifying task to Mother Mariam Thresia. During her time it was the unwritten law that teenage girls of aristocratic family were not supposed to go outside their compound wall under any circumstance. Even when they went to Church for Holy Mass they were to be accompanied by parents or elder sisters. But here Mother Mariam Thresia in her prime of youth was visiting the downtrodden people of the lowest strata of society, consoling the sick, mitigating the pain of the suffering, and administering grace of repentance to the hard hearted sinners. Thus she created a revolution among the sick, the suffering, the needy, the poor and the sinners. The sick saw their doctor in Mariam Thresia. The suffering realized their solace in Mariam Thresia. The poor noticed their redeemer in Mariam Thresia. The obstinate sinners perceived their confessor and retreat preacher in Mariam Thresia. At that time there was no charitable hospital, asylum or orphanage, so for the poor, the sick and the downtrodden. Mariam Thresia was the hospital, asylum and orphanage for them. Though she did not orally preach Gospel in flippant style of rhetoric, she preached the sweetness of the Gospel through her zealous and earnest actions among the poor and the needy. Consequently many hard hearted sinners gave up their routine life of sin and embraced Christianity.
The modern world of computer science and rapid progress may not understand the limitations prescribed for a young nun during that period. Yet Mother Mariam Thresia nursed the persons who were victims of contagious diseases like Cholera, Plague, Small pox etc. The Govt. also did not take any action to eradicate these diseases. Such patients did not get even an atom of compassion either from Govt. or from society. There were instances also of persons affected with small pox who were buried alive. In all these cases Mariam Thresia came forward to administer to their spiritual as well as temporal needs with utmost personal care and sacrifice in a life style of self denial. She had an inborn thirst to save souls for Jesus Christ who shed his last drop of blood for sinners. Through her silent prayer, severe penance and never failing service she saved many persons from death. She led many dying persons to repentance, thus to a peaceful death. Her edifying service caused many non-Christians to come to Church. Though she did not deliver sermons with verbosity her behavior and look and smile was more eloquent than any speech of Ciceronian style. This declared Christian simplicity.
Of course even for spiritual work and social activities money is an inevitable factor. She never had enough money for the charitable works and social activities she did in various fields. So she herself took the role of a beggar to raise funds for the afflicted and the sick with no regard for caste or creed. Many people appreciated this and they generously contributed for this noble cause. Therefore even the dead received an honourable funeral on account of this challenging task undertaken by Mother Mariam Thresia.
Looking at the life of Mother Mariam Thresia, three things mainly impress us. First, how bravely and heroically she took up forsaken cases in the field of sickness and suffering, secondly, her penance and self denial, and thirdly her untiring efforts to serve society through activities in various fields. But as a nun burning with love of God, two fold are her virtues. Firstly, she was not merely satisfied with reciting prayers and singing hymns. She personally undertook all possible tortures to mortify her body. Secondly she placed her cent percent trust in God surrendering herself completely and emptied herself with unswerving faith in providence.
In India, just as Blessed Alphonsa of Palai Diocese is renounced for her silent suffering and prayer, Mother Mariam Thresia of Trichur Diocese is famous for her relentless quest after serving the sick and the downtrodden at the risk of her own life in Mariam Thresia the words of Jesus Christ “Wheat must be crushed down and powdered to produce hundredfold fruit” is materialized. From her sacrifice and self-denial “Holy Family Congregation” imbibed its vitality and dynamism to serve the nation and to win the nation for Jesus Christ.

The Apostle of Families by Rev. Sr. BIANCA chf.

Jesus Christ, the Saviour makes the announcement of his mission in St. Luke’s Gospel. “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people.” (Lk. 4: 16-19). During his public life Jesus was quite busy going around doing good to others. He healed the sick, comforted the afflicted, fed the starving and raised the dead to life. Jesus was a good friend of the oppressed, the marginalized and the out-castes. He preached about the Kingdom of God and it brought about complete transformation in the lives of people. Innumerable persons through-out the ages were attracted by Jesus and followed him. The servant of God, Mother Mariam Thresia, foundress of the Congregation of the Holy Family (CHF) was an ardent follower of Jesus, the crucified. Her ambition in life was to get identified with Him. Inspired by Jesus, the contemplative Mother Mariam Thresia led a life of contemplation and penance. Still she was open to the world and the realities around and her God – experience was translated into action. Impelled by the deep love of God, Mother loved people regardless of caste or creed or any discrimination. People are children of God and hence brothers and sisters for her. She realized that welfare of society and individual depends on the quality of family and so the focus of her attention was family. Mother Mariam Thresia’s conviction of her mission was so strong that nothing could prevent her from moving forward. She succeeded in overlooking oppositions which arose from various quarters. It was unthinkable at that time, even now, that a girl of marriageable age was going around visiting families. But mother was courageous enough to go against the existing customs and traditions in order to carry out her mission. She had a very clear vision of it in her mind. Ardent love towards Jesus crucified filled the heart of Mother Mariam Thresia with compassionate love. She could not remain passive in front of the suffering persons and families. At a time when scientific methods of treatment were unheard of people were quite frightened of contagious diseases like leprosy, small pox etc. Those who were afflicted by these were even abandoned by their own folks. With a deep spirit of love and service Mother visited such patients and families and rendered her service in all possible manner. The afflicted did feel the effect of her service, fervent prayers and healing ‘presence. Mother Mariam Thresia was especially concerned about the sinners, the morally and spiritually weak ones. Her words, prayers and penance touched their hearts and transformed their lives. She went out of her way in helping the needy. Her life history provides plenty of instances for the same. For example, a low caste woman named Thyree was abandoned by her folks fearing that she was attacked by leprosy. Mother gave her refuge in the convent campus and she herself washed her wounds and applied medicine daily and took care of her till her death. There are instances where Mother went around and begged for people who were in dire financial need. No one who approached her for help was turned down. Moreover she went around searching the needy. Mother Mariam Thresia was keen in visiting families especially those of the sick and the dying. In homes where the sick were not getting proper care she nursed them. She was invited to these homes where some one was seriously ill. She prepared the dying for a happy death. Her presence itself was stimulating at strengthening. There was a saying in her village that “Thresia is the support and friend of our families.” She helped to settle family quarrels by her meditation, prayer and penance. She promoted family prayer and helped to inculcate values in their life. Mother Mariam Thresia founded the congregation of Holy Family in order that her daughters continue her mission. She wants her sisters also feel in their lives the transforming power of the Gospel. Their service enable families and there by society at large to imbibe values of the Kingdom of God like justice, peace, compassion, freedom, equality, integrity and above all love. Let the gospel values which inspired Mother Mariam Thresia to lead a life of deep prayer and zealous service remain a source of inspiration for all those who come to know her.