Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal
Memorial: August 29
Marth Euphrasia Eluvathingal also
called Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal baptised as Rosa Eluvathingal (17 October
1877 – 29 August 1952) was an Indian Carmelite nun of the Syro-Malabar Church
which is an Eastern Catholic Church and a part of the Saint Thomas Christian
community in Kerala. She was canonised as a Saint by Pope Francis on 23 November
2014 in Vatican City.
She was born Rosa Eluvathingal on 17
October 1877 in a Syro-Malabar Catholic Nasrani family in Kattoor, Thrissur in
Kerala. Rosa was the eldest child of wealthy landowner Cherpukaran Antony and
his wife Kunjethy. She was baptised on 25 October 1877 in Mother of Carmel
Church in Edathuruthy. Her mother was a devout Syrian Catholic, who taught her
how to pray the rosary and to participate in the Qurbana. At the age of nine,
Rosa is said to have experienced an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which
led her to make a commitment never to marry, and to commit her entire life to
God. When she was ten, she entered the boarding school attached to the first
indigenous Carmelite community in the Syro-Malabar Church, founded by Saints
Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Leopold Beccaro in 1866 at Koonammavu in Ernakulam
As she grew older, Rosa wanted to enter
the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel, who follow the Rule of the Third Order of
the Discalced Carmelites. Her father opposed this, as he wanted to arrange a
marriage for her with the son of another prosperous family in the region. Seeing
her resolve, her father eventually relented and accompanied her to the convent.
In 1897, Mar John Menachery, the first
native Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Thrissur, established
a Carmelite Convent in Ambazakad (now belonging to the Syro-Malabar Catholic
Eparchy of Irinjalakuda). On 9 May, he brought all five inmates from Koonammavu
who belonged to his diocese. The next day Rosa was received as a postulant,
taking the name Sister Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was admitted
to the novitiate of the congregation on 10 January 1898. Her constant poor
health, however, threatened her stay in the convent, as the superiors considered
Euphrasia is said to have had a vision of
the Holy Family, at which point the illness she had long felt ceased. Euphrasia
made her solemn profession on 24 May 1900, during the blessing of the newly
founded St. Mary's Convent, Ollur or Chinna Roma. After she took her perpetual
vows, she was appointed assistant to the Novice Mistress. Though frail in health,
in 1904 Euphrasia was appointed Novice Mistress of the congregation. She held
this position for nine years until 1913, when she was made Mother Superior of
the convent, where she was to live the rest of her life, serving as Mother
Superior until 1916.
She endeavoured to lead a life of constant
prayer and of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, becoming known to many
people as the Praying Mother. Euphrasia spent much of her day in the convent
chapel before the Blessed Sacrament, to which she had a strong devotion. She
also nourished a great love and devotion for the Virgin Mary. Euphrasia died on
29 August 1952 at St. Mary's Convent. Her tomb has become a pilgrimage site as
miracles have been reported by some of the faithful.
The first reported miracle was curing a
carpenter from bone cancer. Thomas Tharakan from Anchery in Ollur, a furniture
polishing worker, was diagnosed with cancer by the Jubilee Mission Medical
College and Research Institute in Thrissur. Thomas was admitted to the hospital
for one week. Later before the surgery, a scan by the doctor showed no sign of
tumour, despite an earlier scan report showing clear evidence of a tumour.
Thomas's sister, Rosy, later claimed that cure was the result of her prayer to
The second reported miracle happened to a
seven-year old child named Jewel from Aloor in Thrissur District. The child had
a tumour in his neck which made it difficult for him to swallow any food.
Doctors at Dhanya Hospital in Potta, Thrissur District, had said that this
disease was incurable. As Jewel's family came from a poor background, their only
option was to pray for divine intercession. After his grandmother prayed to
Euphrasia, doctors noticed that his tumour began to shrink. Dr Sasikumar of
Dhanya Hospital examined him once again and found the tumour to have disappeared.
Many other doctors examined the boy and stated that there was no medical basis
for this event.
Stages of canonisation
On 27 September 1986 the process of
canonisation began in Ollur. On 13 August 1987 Father Lucas Vithuvatikal was
appointed as Postulator. He made the oath as Postulator in the presence of Mar
Joseph Kundukulam, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Thrissur on 29 August 1987 and
Euphrasia was declared a "Servant of God" on the same day.
Sister Perigrin was appointed as
Vice-Postulator on 9 September 1987 and in 1988, a Diocesan Tribunal for the
Cause of Euphrasia was established by Kundukulam. The Diocesan Tribunal for the
apostolic miracle was established on 8 January 1989, which was officially closed
by Kundukulam on 19 June 1991. On 30 January 1990 the tomb of Euphrasia was
opened and her remains were transferred to a newly-built tomb inside the chapel
of St. Mary's Convent. Her case was submitted to the Congregation for the Causes
of Saints, Rome on 20 April 1994, and on 5 July 2002 Pope John Paul II declared
She was beatified on 3 December 2006 in
St. Anthony's Forane Church, Ollur, with the declaration of the Major Archbishop,
Varkey Vithayathil, on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. Apostolic Nuncio to India
Archbishop Pedro López Quintana and Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of the
Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchy of Thrissur joined 30 prelates and 500 priests
for the beatification events.
On 3 April 2014, Pope Francis authorised
the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decrees concerning
the miracle attributed to Euphrasia's intercession. This confirmed the Pope's
approval of Euphrasia's canonisation. At a special mass held at St Peter's
Square at Vatican City on 23 November 2014, Pope Francis canonised Euphrasia as
a saint. Mother Sancta, Mother General of Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC),
carried the relics of Euphrasia to the altar.
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