Bienheureuse Regina Mariam
franciscaine, martyre en Inde (+ 1995)
- décret du 23 mars 2017 reconnaissant le martyre de
Regina Mariam Vattalil (née Rani Maria), sœur professe de la Congrégation des clarisses franciscaines, tuée en haine de la Foi le 25 Février 1995.
- béatification d'une religieuse indienne le 4 novembre 2017 à Indore, en Inde.
- Histoire de sainteté: Sœur Rani Maria Vattalil, Vatican News.
Religieuse tuée à coups de couteaux en Inde à l'âge de 41 ans dans un bus. L'assassin avait été payé par des seigneurs qui lui reprochait son assistance envers les plus démunis, les aidant à réclamer un juste traitement et un salaire décent.
L'assassin repenti fut pardonné et accepté par sa famille.
- Un film "The Heart of a Murderer" (extrait vidéo) relate cet événement.
Pendant qu'elle était
tuée, la sœur répétait le nom de Jésus. Le motif de cet homicide était le fait
que la sœur prêchait l'Évangile de la charité et défendait les pauvres de l'injustice
de ceux qui, d'une façon frauduleuse, prenaient possession des terres. Pour
s'opposer à cet abus, sœur Rani cherchait à soustraire les petits propriétaires
au suicide ou à un triste destin de misère absolue, avec des initiatives
concrètes de coopération et de microcrédit. Son œuvre recevait la
reconnaissance du peuple, mais attirait aussi la colère des puissants. Le
martyre de sœur Rani est une bénédiction pour toute l'Église en Inde. Son
sacrifice est devenu un phare de lumière pour la multitude des missionnaires,
qui trouvent en elle inspiration et protection pour leur difficile œuvre de
bien. Depuis toujours, les martyrs ont rendu fertile la terre pour la
génération des nouveaux chrétiens.
Cardinal Angelo Amato,
préfet de la Congrégation pour les Causes des Saints
Le cardinal Amato va
présider la béatification d'une religieuse indienne assassinée en 1995
(RV) Le cardinal Angelo
Amato, préfet de la Congrégation pour les Causes des Saints, présidera le 4
novembre à Indore, en Inde, la béatification de sœur Rani Maria Vattalil
(1954-1995), une sœur clarisse franciscaine.
Le cardinal Amato s’est confié
sur le sens de cette béatification, au micro de nos collègues du service
italien de Radio Vatican. «Sœur Rani avait faim et soif de justice, a-t-il
confié. Pour cette raison, elle fut tuée, le 25 février 1995, pendant qu’elle
voyageait avec un bus direct vers Bhopal. Le tueur s’est acharné sur son corps
avec 54 coups de couteau. Ce fut un vrai massacre.»
«Pendant qu’elle était
tuée, la sœur répétait le nom de Jésus. Le motif de cet homicide était le fait
que la sœur prêchait l’Évangile de la charité et défendait les pauvres de
l’injustice de ceux qui, d’une façon frauduleuse, prenaient possession des terres.
Pour s’opposer à cet abus, sœur Rani cherchait à soustraire les petits
propriétaires au suicide ou à un triste destin de misère absolue, avec des
initiatives concrètes de coopération et de microcrédit. Son œuvre recevait la
reconnaissance du peuple, mais attirait aussi la colère des puissants.»
«Le martyre de sœur Rani
est une bénédiction pour toute l’Église en Inde. Son sacrifice est devenu un
phare de lumière pour la multitude des missionnaires, qui trouvent en elle
inspiration et protection pour leur difficile œuvre de bien. Depuis toujours,
les martyrs ont rendu fertile la terre pour la génération des nouveaux chrétie
Inde : sœur Rani Maria,
modèle pour les chrétiens persécutés, béatifiée
Cousturié ✝ - publié le 03/11/17
La sœur clarisse Rani
Maria Vattalil a été assassinée le 25 février 1995 d’une cinquantaine de coups
de couteau par un hindou qui s’est repenti après avoir été « pardonné et
adopté » par toute sa famille.
Jusqu’au dernier coup
infligé par son meurtrier, un extrémiste hindou, qui lui a couru après alors
qu’elle essayait de s’enfuir, Rani Maria ne cessa de crier le nom de Jésus. En
mars dernier, le Vatican a reconnu son martyre, et le 4 novembre, elle sera
béatifiée par le cardinal Angelo Amato, préfet de la congrégation pour les
causes des saints, à Indore où sont prévues également des veillées spéciales en
la cathédrale Saint-François d’Assise. Le lendemain, dimanche, une messe
d’action de grâce, présidée par le nonce apostolique Mgr Giambattista Diquattro,
aura lieu en l’église du Sacré-Cœur à Udainagar (60km d’Indore) où vivait sœur
Rani Maria, en présence des milliers de fidèles attendus de tout le pays pour
Née le 29 janvier 1954 à
Pulluvazhy, un petit village près de Kochi, la capitale commerciale du Kerala,
Rani Maria est entrée au couvent des clarisses franciscaines à Kidangoor, en
1972 et prononça ses premiers vœux deux ans plus tard. Transférée dans le
diocèse d’Indore en 1992, elle se consacra aux travailleurs agricoles sans
terre, se battant pour leurs droits et contre l’oppression des propriétaires
terriens et exploitants sociaux au prix de sa vie.
Du pardon à la repentance
Le meurtrier de sœur
Rani, Samundhar Singh, avoua très vite avoir été employé comme tueur à gages
par les propriétaires terriens hostiles au programme de la religieuse qui était
également très impliquée dans l’éducation des enfants. Mais contre toute
attente, il fut pardonné par la famille de la religieuse qui vint le voir en
prison et stupéfia l’opinion publique en décidant de le « prendre en
charge et de le placer sous sa protection » comme un frère. « Le
meurtrier de ma sœur m’a appris la vraie signification du pardon (…) ma famille
et moi, à travers la mort de Rani, avons expérimenté l’inconditionnelle
miséricorde de Dieu », a expliqué à AsiaNews Selmy Paul, la jeune sœur de Rani Maria, elle
aussi missionnaire franciscaine clarisse en Inde.
Au début, face à un acte
d’une telle cruauté, cela leur fut difficile car leurs coeurs étaient plein de
douleur et de ressentiment, mais peu à peu, a-t-elle poursuivi, « j’ai
commencé à sentir en moi la grâce de Dieu et j’ai pu lui pardonner ». Le
déclic ? Le souvenir des paroles de Rani Maria : « Je n’ai pas
peur de mourir pour les pauvres pour le bien de Jésus ». Son désir –
mourir pour les pauvres – s’était réalisé. Le regard tourné vers le crucifix,
Selmy a compris qu’elle était un « instrument dans les mains de
Dieu » et que Rani avait été récompensé pour son service en faveur des
pauvres ». Cette attitude bouleversa au plus haut point le
meurtrier, Samundhar, qui s’est alors repenti sincèrement de son geste et mène
aujourd’hui une vie exemplaire dans son village.
Une béatification source
Le cardinal Oswald
Gracias, archevêque de Bombay et vice-président de la Conférence des évêques
catholiques d’Inde (BCBI), a décrit la religieuse indienne comme l »exemple
héroïque d’une personne qui s’est mise du côté des pauvres et des
défavorisés », rapporte La Croix. Un exemple salué comme « l’événement le plus
glorieux de l’histoire d’Udainagar et de la Province d’Amala » par la
congrégation de sœur Rani. Son martyre, affirme ses consœurs, a aidé à
semer « la graine de l’amour et de la justice et la fraternité dans de
nombreux cœurs ». Tous en conviennent, pour tous les chrétiens victimes
aujourd’hui de persécutions cette béatification sera une grande source
d’inspiration. « Nous sommes convaincus que la puissante intercession de
sœur Rani qui a travaillé et qui est morte pour les pauvres et à leur service,
ne rendra que plus efficace notre service pour le bien de toutes les
personnes », a entre autre déclaré à AsiaNews l’évêque d’Indore, Mgr Chacko Thottumarickal.
Dans l’État du Madhya
Pradesh, les chrétiens ne représentent que 0,3 % des 73 millions
d’habitants, à 90% hindous. Les violences antichrétiennes y sont fréquentes.
Cette béatification est donc très attendue. Durant la célébration sera exposée
une relique de la religieuse, une de ses cotes portant les traces de coups de
couteau qui lui ont été infligées. A savoir qu’un musée honore la vie de sœur
Rani à Ernakulam (Kerala), et qu’un documentaire – The Heart of a Murderer
(Le cœur d’un meurtrier) – consacré au crime et à la repentance de son
assassin – a remporté le prix du festival du film World Interfaith Harmony
Inde: béatification de sœur Rani Maria, martyre Au service des pauvres et des sans défense
NOVEMBRE 06, 2017 15:14OCÉANE LE GALLCAUSES DES SAINTS
« Nous sommes le 25 février
1995 quand sœur Rani Maria Vattalil, tout juste âgée de 41 ans, est assassinée
alors qu’elle est en voyage sur un bus à destination de Bhopal. Le tueur
s’acharne sur son corps qu’il frappe d’une cinquantaine de coups de couteau.
Alors qu’il la massacre, la religieuse ne cesse de répéter le nom de
Jésus », rapporte L’Osservatore Romano du 5 novembre 2017 qui brosse le
portrait de la nouvelle bienheureuse indienne, martyre, dans cet article que
nous traduisons de l’italien. Son meurtrier s’est repenti et a voulu devenir
chrétien. L’Osservatore Romano rapporte en effet les paroles du cardinal Angelo
Amato, préfet de la congrégation pour les causes des saints, qui a rappelé le
martyre subit par cette clarisse franciscaine, lors de la messe de
béatification en Inde, le 4 novembre 2017, à Indore. Le cardinal présidait la
célébration au nom du Pape. « Commentant le meurtre de la religieuse, le
cardinal Amato a rappelé que la raison de tant d’acharnement contre elle venait
de ce qu’« elle prêchait l’évangile de la charité et défendait les pauvres
contre les injustices » commises par ceux qui « frauduleusement,
prenaient possession des terres ». Pour s’opposer à ces abus, dans le
village d’Udainagar (Madhya Pradesh) sœur Rani « cherchait à soustraire les
petits propriétaires au suicide ou à un triste destin d’indigence, par des
initiatives concrètes de coopération et microcrédit ». Ce qu’elle faisait
recevait « la gratitude du peuple mais attirait la colère des tyrans ». Le
repentir du meurtrier, Samunder Singh, et son désir de devenir chrétien, sont
une marque évidente de l’efficacité apostolique de son martyre. « Soeur
Rani, a souligné le prélat, était prête spirituellement au martyre. Son
ouverture « aux dons de l’Esprit, sa foi dans l’Eucharistie, sa confiance
dans la Providence, sa prière continue à la bienheureuse Alphonsine — canonisée
en 2008 — pour rester forte face dans les difficultés et dans la
souffrance » témoignent de sa « tension vers la perfection et la
sainteté ». Face aux obstacles, elle disait : « Dieu est avec
moi. Pourquoi devrais-je avoir peur ? ». La foi « lui transmettait patience,
courage, sérénité et esprit de conciliation ». Toujours optimiste, malgré
les larmes des souffrances, on l’appelait « l’apôtre du sourire ».
Elle avait en effet « une manière aimable de sourire face aux
problèmes ». Ce niveau de maturité, elle le devait à sa spiritualité
franciscaine. C’était une mystique de la prière. Elle aimait prier et
enseigner à prier ». « La religieuse avait « une attitude de
bienveillance et générosité envers le prochain ». Personne, a déclaré le
cardinal Amato, « n’était exclu de sa charité, de son conseil, de ses
encouragements ». Elle aimait tout le monde, « au-delà des barrières de
caste, de religion et de langue. Elle avait de bonnes relations avec les riches
et avec les pauvres, avec les personnes cultivées et les illettrés ». Elle se
rendait souvent, en effet, « dans les bureaux gouvernementaux pour plaider
les causes des personnes dans le besoin et des pauvres, pour lesquels elle
était une généreuse bienfaitrice ». Mais son héroïsme avait « atteint son
apogée dans la charité envers les ennemis ». Un jour, a rappelé le préfet,
Rani Maria, qui avait eu connaissance « des menaces d’un de ses ennemis
déclarés, hostile à son programme social, se rendit au village où vivait son
adversaire pour le rencontrer personnellement. Conquis par sa gentillesse et sa
bonté, celui-ci devint son ami ». « La supérieure de sa congrégation
était « pleine d’admiration pour le zèle de Rani qui, avec grande
simplicité, exhortait les sœurs à être fortes et courageuses ». Elle aimait
répéter : « Nous ne devons pas rechercher la sécurité mais agir en
missionnaire ; avec courage et confiance en Dieu, les religieuses
devraient être prêtes à risquer leur vie pour servir les pauvres et les personnes
en détresse dans les villages sous-développés ». « Le martyre de sœur
Rani, a poursuivi le cardinal Amato, est « une bénédiction non seulement
pour la mission d’Udainagar, mais pour toute l’Eglise catholique en Inde ». Son
sacrifice est devenu un phare de lumière pour la multitude des missionnaires,
qui trouvent en elle inspiration et protection ». Et les sœurs franciscaines
clarisses, a-t-il ajouté, son particulièrement fières d’avoir maintenant, en
plus de la protection de sainte Alphonsine Muttathupaddathu, aussi celle de la
bienheureuse Rani. « La religieuse « invite ses consoeurs à être fidèles à
leur vocation, au sacrifice, dans leur noble mission de témoignage évangélique
e d’apostolat social ». Dans un horizon multiculturel et multireligieux, sa
« figure montre la beauté et la haute dignité de la personne humaine,
surtout de la femme elle aussi au cœur de la proclamation du message social de
Jésus Christ pour les marginalisés » et tous ceux qui « souffrent de
violence et d’injustice ». Elle mourut « pour promouvoir et défendre
les valeurs évangéliques de la justice, de la fraternité, du pardon, qu’elle
proclamait et appliquait ». « Sœur Rani, a rappelé encore le cardinal
Amato, était « animée d’un grand désir d’évangélisation ». Son
apostolat social « reposait sur une profonde attitude d’adoration et une
écoute continuelle de la parole ». Sa vie missionnaire « unissait
harmonieusement la prière et la responsabilité sociale, la vie communautaire et
la fraternité ». Pour finir, de son témoignage jaillit l’invitation « à
prier pour les persécuteurs de l’Eglise ». » NOVEMBRE 06, 2017
15:14CAUSES DES SAINTS
Inde: béatification de sœur Rani Maria, martyre | ZENIT - Francais
Sister Rani Maria
Regina Maria Vattalil
The second child of
Paily and Eliswa of Vattalil, Mariam was baptized in
the church of Saint Thomas at
the age of 7 days. She joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, taking
the name Rani Maria, and making her solemn vows on 22 May 1980. Missionary in
the diocese of Bijnor,
Uttar Pradesh, India. Her work there to help the poor put
her in conflict with the money lenders, landlords and criminals who exploited
them, and she was murdered to
stop her work. Martyr.
Singh was arrested,
convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for
he was released in 2006,
has met with and was forgiven by Blessed Mariam’s
family, and attended the beatification celebration
sites in english
Vattalil“. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 September 2023. Web. 25 February 2024.
Bl. Martyr Rani Maria
Beloved daughter of FCC,
the Servant of God Sr. Rani Maria the FCC Martyr for marginalized- lived and
died for a noble cause. Through her courageous sacrifice and martyrdom, she has
sown the seed of love and justice and brotherhood in many hearts. Sr. Rani
Maria was born on 29 January 1954 as the second child of Paily andEliswa of
Vattalil, in an ordinary peasant family. Her Baptism was on 5 February 1954 at
St.Thomas Church Pulluvazhy and she was given the name Mariam.Her God fearing
parents brought her up in Christian faith and charity. As soon as Marykunju had
completed her Secondary school studies, she joined the Franciscan Clarist
Congregation at Kidangoor near Thommachanherself for the service of God and
took the name, Rani Maria. She made her final commitment to the Lord on May 22,
Her deep desire to become a Missionary was fulfilled when the Superiors sent her to the North Indian Mission in the diocese of Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh in 1975. She remained at St. Marys Convent, Bijnor for seven years and for nine years at Odagadi in the diocese of Satna, rendering selfless service for the uplift of the poorvillagers.She was transferred to Udayanagar in 1992 in the diocese of Indore. During her initial years in the Mission she involved herself in the education of children both formal and non-formal. This slowly gave way to a much wider field of development of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized.
Her life was fully dedicated to the service of the poor, for the sake of Jesus alone. Once when she was asked why she has chosen the Saffron Shawl she replied,Matter becomes Red hot when it absorbs heat. This is true with the human soul also. The developmental programmes in which she was engaged for the poor tribals went counter to the vested interests of the unscrupulous moneylenders and social exploiters; she became the object of their hatred, which grew steadily in step with the progress of the poor. And her enemies decided to get rid of her. On February 25, 1995, the most tragic event or we can say, the most glorious event in the history of Udainagar as well as of Amala Province Bhopal took place - the martyrdom of Sr.Rani Maria.On her way to Indore in a bus she was brutally murdered in the daylight in front of the passengers. She had 40 major injuries besides 14 bruises. Unto the last she kept on saying Jesus! Jesus!
She was declared as
servant of God on 29.6.2005.
Canonical Recognition and Reburial of the Servant of God Rani Maria Vattalil (Prot. No. 2553) were conducted on 18th November 2016 as prescribed in the instruction at Indore. It was indeed a grace filled event.
BLESSED MARTYR RANI MARIA
Birth and Childhood
famous for its very ancient "Indus Valley Culture" and strong
religious traditions. World religions like Hinduism, Budhism, Jainism, and
Sikhism were born in India. The epics "Ramayana" and
"Mahabharata" together with the classical scriptural writings of
"Vedas", "Puranas" and "Gita" contribute towards
profound religious and philosophical traditions. India is the biggest democracy
in the world and the second among the highly populated countries.
"Himalayas" and Tajmahal" are tourist attractions. Mahatma
Gandhi is the father of the Nation. Mother Theresa had served the poor in
India. Though "Kashmir" gives a headache and poverty causes a lot of
problems, religious harmony and modern computer software-developments announce
a bright future for India.
Kerala is one of the South-West States of India which lies on the shore
of Indian Ocean. Beautiful sea waters, high mountain ranges and wild forests
make Kerala one of the most beautiful states of India. "Keram" is
coconut. Kerala is the land of coconuts. Rice, tea and coffee grow in large
quantities. Spices like Pepper, Cardamom, Ginger, Chilli and fruits like
Banana, Mango and Jack-fruit are specialties of Kerala. These invited strong
trade relationship with Rome and Persia even before the Christian Era. Kerala
received Christian faith already in the first century. St. Thomas, one of the
Apostles of Jesus, came to Kerala in A.D. 52 and founded Christianity here. Sr.
Rani Maria belongs to this Christian Community.
Pulluvazhy is a small
village situated near to the Cochin (Kochi) City and Perumbavoor town. It is
adjacent to Malayatoor, the famous St. Thomas Shrine, and to Kalady, the
birth-place of the renowned Indian Philosopher Adisankara. Majority of the
people are Christians and Hindus. "Pullu" is grass and
"Vazhy" is way. The village speaks of natural beauty with green
grass, trees, rice fields, and coconut gardens. The village is known for cattle
field and small scale wood industries. In the center of the village is situated
the St. Thomas Catholic Church and the miraculous chapel of St. Antony. This
religiously oriented little village is the birth-place of Sr. Rani Maria. Sr.
Rani Maria was the second child of Paily and Eliswa of the Vattalil family. Her
brothers and sisters were Stephen, Annie, Varghese, Thressiamma, Celine (Sr.
Selmy Paul) and Lucy. She was born on 29 January 1954 and was baptized on 5
February. Her uncle Varkey and grandmother Mariamma were the Godparents. She
was given the name Mary. But at home all called her with the pet name
Marykunju. Her brother Stephen speaks thus about her childhood: "She was a
girl of few words; she needed only very simple clothes, and did not show any
interest in wearing ornaments. She never did anything to hurt anyone. Even
though something happened, she felt sorry about it." Her mother speaks of her
with pride: "She was different from other children and was an
exceptionally obedient child."
Marykunju received the first Holy Communion in 1961 and the Sacrament of
Confirmation in 1966. She grew up in a healthy and strong background of prayer
and devotional practices. She showed great interest in going to the church and
taking part in the Mass and other forms of popular devotions. The superior of
the Franciscan Clarist Convent in Pulluvazhy, Sr. Bosco testifies that Sr. Rani
Maria was a good-natured girl and she frequented the catechism classes in full
earnestness. She started her studies in the Kalari (The traditional form of
pre-primary education) and continued with it for two years. Then she joined the
Lower Primary School at Pulluvazhy. She was smart and fared well both in
studies and in sports. She did well in all subjects; studied by heart stories
and poems from the text- books, the multiplication table, and began to learn
After primary schooling she joined the Jayakeralam High School managed
by P.Govindappillai. The education imparted there by famous teachers stood her
in good stead to grow in knowledge and wisdom. Even during his school days she
helped her parents in the farm. Jokingly she used to tell her brother:
"You are studying so much. It is of no use. Do some work and then
study." She was very enthusiastic about helping out also in the household
view of a good result in the SSLC Examination, her parents sent her to the St.
Joseph's H.S. Trippunithura. One of her companions Philo (Sr.Philcy) was
already studying in this school. Under the supervision and guidance of the
nuns, her life in the school and in the hostel turned out to be very conducive
to her spiritual and intellectual growth. She completed her studies successfully.
She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology in 1982 from the Bhopal
University and her Master's Degree in the same subject in 1989 from the Riva
final year of her school studies, Sr. Rani Maria felt an internal call to
become the bride of Christ, the crucified. She shared her inner promptings with
her cousin Sicily (Sr. Sony) who also thought alike. Responding to that
personal call of Christ they decided to join the Franciscan Clarist
anxieties about the reactions of her parents and relatives regarding her
decision to join the convent. One day, she expressed her desire openly to her
dear ones. Her brothers and sisters were not happy and asked their father not
to allow her to go. The father replied: "but if she insists what shall I
do? If God so desires, how can we go against it". The grandmother
intervened: "Why do you oppose Marykunju joining the convent? Is she not
going for a noble cause? How many parents desire that their children become
priests and nuns? But does that happen? The vocation to the religious life is
not given to all. God gives it only to some." Hearing these words of
wisdom from the grandmother all remained silent. On 3 July 1972, Marykunju and
her friend Sicily joined the convent at Kidangoor, near Angamaly.
the mistress at the initial stage of her religious formation, says thus about
Mary: “She always had a smiling face and was a smart girl. She did everything
with perfection and had no complaints about anything. She did not need any
corrections. Holding fast to what is true and just, she always spoke out things
very openly." On 1 November 1972 Marykunju and 17 of her companions
entered the next stage of formation called Postulancy and completed it in six
initiated in to the novitiate on 1 May 1973. During this period she formed
herself to live a life based on the evangelical counsels. Sr. Infant Mary her
Novice Mistress says about her novitiate days: "Mary was a faithful
novice. She was quick to own up any mistake she would commit. I don't remember
Mary taking an exemption from her studies, prayers, observance of the rules or
work. She was always careful not to hurt anyone. At the same time, she was very
charitable and showed sincere interest in correcting others. She always openly
spoke out the truth."
uses cleansing measures to purify his beloved. In her life Mary too had her
crosses to carry. Midway through her novitiate, she noticed that a black mark
was growing on her leg. Even though she underwent some treatment, the doctors
prescribed that she would not be healed completely. This caused her a lot of
mental pain. All the same she was not desperate and went ahead believing and
entrusting herself to the divine providence. The Lord rewarded her faith and
cured her completely. In this manner the Lord prepared her interiorly for the
religious vestition. Mary and the other novices made the First Profession and
dawned the religious habit on 1 May 1974. The function took place in the St.
George church; Angamaly officiated by the late Bishop Sebastian Mankuzhikary.
On that auspicious day she received the name Sr. Rani Maria. She made her final
commitment to the Lord by making Perpetual Vows on 22 May 1980. It was preceded
by a preparatory course in Portiuncula, the generalate of the Franciscan
Clarist Congregation in Aluva.
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach Good News
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim
the acceptable year of the Lord" (Lk.4/18). These verses were written in
the personal diary of Sr. Rani Maria. She was attracted by these words and grew
up in the desire to become a missionary. Her zeal increased as she at times
listened to the experiences of the nuns who were working in the mission areas
of North India. She was inspired by the letters send by some of them. "The
harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the
harvest to send out labourers into his harvest". (Mt.9/37-38). This call
of the Lord echoed in her ears again and again. It touched her deep within.
Gracian Mundadan, Bishop of Bijnor in North India, asked Sr. Sophia, the
superior of the Ernakulam province of the Fransciscan Clarist Congregation, to
send two nuns in order to serve in the Department of Social Services in his
diocese. Sr. Rani Maria and Sr. Ann John were chosen to take up this mission.
Sr. Rani Maria was very happy that finally what she was longing for came in
search of her. Her parents, brothers and sisters were very sad on her decision
to go to North India, since it was very far away from her home. She did not
succumb to the opposition and tears of her dear ones. With a thirst to proclaim
the Good News to the poor she started off for Patna on 9 July 1975.
At Bijnor in the Cradle
of Missionary Life (1975-1983)
Maria began her works giving attention to the education of children in the
remote villages of Bijnor. She gathered together the children who used to play
with the grazing cows. She made them sit under trees and taught them reading
and writing. Gradually, through her hard work, she was able to provide
necessary conveniences in order to give basic education to the children of the
villages. Moreover, she organized crèches and means of education for women and
executed projects of houses, roads, water, electricity and so on. Her relentless
zeal was gratefully acknowledged and she was recognized as an established
social worker. "Do not be afraid for I am with you always" were the
words that gave her strength of mind and generosity of heart to continue the
work even in the midst of opposition and problems.
Mary, who was Sr. Rani Maria's Novice Mistress and who had direct experiences
of her works in the Mission areas has the following to say about her activities
in the diocese of Bijnor: "The biting cold, heavy rains, intense heat,
irregular meals, lack of water, journey through dangerous forests, lonely
moments of helplessness... nothing was a hindrance to Sr. Rani Maria. While
travelling she used to pray the rosary. She had her pains behind the
adventurous undertakings. She was a junior sister of twenty two years old. But
she possessed the inner strength to face and overcome the difficult situations.
She never made any complaints about her trials and problems nor did she show
the slightest sign of discontentment. But I have seen her difficulties
Mary continues: "Her service to the villagers in cooperation with 'The
Save a Family Plan' is something very laudable.” With these projects many
huts of the bygone days were turned into houses. The narrow pathways became
roads. Marshy places were converted into cultivable fields. Wells were dug.
Electricity was brought. Woolen clothes were distributed. The poor people were
supplied with food articles and the unemployed were given job opportunities.
Her works were publicly acknowledged when Fr. Kottoor, the director of Social
Services, named a sewing mill of the village as "Rani Mills". This
mill was the fruit of Sr. Rani Maria's hard work.
says, "Sr. Rani Maria was convinced of her call by Jesus. She was inspired
by the life style of St. Francis of Assissi. She prayed intensely by which she
gained the strength to march ahead even in the midst of various problems."
Fr. Raimond, Provincial of the Mission Province of the Carmelites of the Mary
Immaculate says, “Soon after the Holy Mass Sr. Rani Maria used to start off on
her journey to be with the people of the village. Her passion in life was to
share with the poor the love of God. Other nuns of the community were also
attracted by her social works. She was a dedicated and zealous person."
eight years of service in Bijnor she was able to bring about radical changes
and substantial progress in the twenty villages ranging from Adampur, to Ravali
or the city forest as it is called to day. The services done in villages like
Adampur, Timarpur, Katchpura, Tikkanpur, Nayagava, Jalra, Ittawa, Chandpura,
Manddaval, Lalvala. Bukkara, Khadi, Peda, Bhakkalpur, Salampur, Manddavali,
Chottaittava, Ravali, the different parts of the colony of Bangla speak volumes
of the hard work of Sr. Rani Maria.
At Odagady in the Diocese
of Satna (1983-1992)
On 23 May
1983 Sr. Rani Maria reached the hilly areas of Odagady in the diocese of Satna.
There too, she laboured to uplift the poor and the down trodden and to bring
them back to the main stream of life. Sr. Rani Maria was firmly convinced that
no sacrifice would be too much in order to preach the total liberation proclaimed
by Christ. She was of the opinion that one should not be tired to work for
the poor presenting them Christ. Sr. Infant Mary has the following words to say
about Sr. Rani Maria's mission in Odagady: "The needs of the people were
of multi-faced: house, road, water, food, light and electricity, hospital,
employment facilities and so on. The people were to be saved from feelings of
estrangement, abandonment, peacelessness, and anxiety. They had the desire for
knowledge. They wanted to build up proper families. The litany of their needs
became always longer. Sr. Rani Maria found out new ways and means to make these
dreams materialized. She understood that even though the people looked ignorant
and rustic, each individual was full of different capabilities. If
opportunities were given they will surely develop. With this aim in mind she
organized camps and seminars. Selected youth were grouped into different
committees in order to achieve efficient participation from the people."
Mary continues: "Big wells were dug and barren land and marshy places were
converted into cultivable land. The problem of scarcity of water was solved by
constructing small dams, which would conserve water. Fish tanks were built.
Machines were erected for oil extraction. The savings of the people were
deposited in the bank and were used for further development. Through women
organizations she taught the village women to take proper care of the children
and to have some sort of order in their own homes. She encouraged small-scale
industries and centers of handicrafts. She organized educational programs in proportion
to the grasping power of the children, young and aged. Thus, majority of the
people of Odagady and the surroundings, who lived in utter poverty, were helped
to attain self-sufficiency. She conscientized the poor people about the problem
of exploitation by the rich. As a result, she also became the object of
displeasure to the oppressors. Works for the upliftment of the poor was
misinterpreted as attempts for conversion of Hindus to Christianity. Her life
was at times under threat. But she was not discouraged, instead, these turned
out to be opportunities for her to reinforce her sense of dedication".
enough the government officials rejected her applications and requests in
favour of the poor. They even advised her not to spend her life in vain
for the sake of these people. On one occasion, holding on to the cross hanging
around her neck, she told humbly to an officer: " Sir, we have accepted
this way of life and come here not because we have no means of livelihood at
home nor is it because our parents have pushed us out of our families. Look! We
have accepted this wayof life, a life of sacrifice, in order to work for Christ
in the poor." Gradually her gentle manners, sincere dealings, unselfish
ways of action and above all her pleasant way of speaking won over admiration
even of the officials.
about 25 villages were the recipients of her services. They are Osgadala,
Ujjaini, Baghadi, Battahattad, Chawraghad, Amo, Silab, Bagwada, Lalgadad,
Bawdi, Pulaya, Haracoli, Thebani, Jhadi, Sajahar, Jinknowa, Sarahad, Koluva,
Kajadasala, Majoli, Mirchuwa, Miniyari, Khajarda, Jhadhi and Thabni.
At Udainagar in the
Diocese of Indore (1992-1995)
years of dedicated and self-less service in Odagady Sr. Rani Maria reached
Udainagar in the diocese of Indore on 16 May 1992. Again, Sr. Infant Mary
testifies to her life of service here: "She tried to make the adivasis
(the hill tribes) and the other ordinary people of the village
self-reliant. She chose a few youngsters and gave them training to become
animators. She taught them how to help the poor people and themselves by
getting financial assistance from the government and private banks of Udainagar
Mary writes again: "Organizations like Seva Samithi, and Mahilamandal
started functioning very effectively. In this way she could help to eradicate
the evil of poverty to a certain extent. Houses were built, roads were
constructed, and electricity was supplied. The men folk were engaged in
small-scale business such as rearing sheep, collecting honey and the women and
children became experts at making sandal-wood sticks, preparing jute bags and so
on. Again, the marshy places were converted in to agricultural land. Those
capable of going for higher education were given the opportunities. Thus they
developed a positive awareness about themselves and grew up in efficiency,
culture and etiquette. There appeared a silver lining in the clouds of the
village of Udainagar and its surroundings."
villages where she worked in Udainagar were Semily, Gadaghad, Magradeve, Dhad,
Dhavadala, Devnaliya, Shyampura, Mayghavu, Pandhuthalab, Jamasingh, Sithapuri,
Visali, Anandnagar, Mirjapur, Subhalghad, Harmodi, Hurapur, Iralipuram,
Udayapuram, Sevenpani, Patpadi, Pattadipala, Dupghad, and Dhuladhad.
Maria was a mother to the poor in every sense of the word. Sr. Lisa Rose, the
superior of the convent in which she lived in Udainagar, remarks:
"Sr. Rani Maria mostly worked among the adivasis and among those who were
marginalized by the society. They loved her as a mother because it was for the
first time that they saw a person who shared their life, lived with them and
acted in their favour. Her life was set apart for the poor. Her nature was not
the one that would run away from difficulties and oppositions."
In 1994 Sr.
Rani Maria was elected as the Provincial Councilor of her Congregation having
the charge of the Department of Social Services. She had to coordinate the
social works of all the houses of the Province. On her election to the
Provincial Council she said: "Power or position was not important in the
field of service. Only the attitude towards selfless service would make one
achieve something". Sr. Rani Maria had made deep impressions and left
indelible marks wherever she worked. Today, she is known as 'Mother of the
Poor', 'Heaven of the Needy', 'Zealous Missionary', 'Smiling Sister' and 'Queen
of Indore' or 'Indore Rani'.
1995. Sr. Rani Maria rose early in the morning as usual. She was to catch the
bus at 7 a.m. to Indore and from there to the Provincial House in Bhopal and
then to Kerala to meet her parents. Sr. Lisa Rose describes this day on which
Sr. Rani Maria was martyred: "We, the inmates of 'Snehasadan Convent' were
already awake before the sun-rise. When I reached the chapel for the morning
prayers I found that Sr. Rani Maria had already reached the chapel before
everybody else. After the morning prayers we assembled in the refectory while
Sr. Rani was having her breakfast. She was about to begin her journey. As it
was her custom before leaving the house, she picked up the word of God. She got
the words, 'Do not be afraid, I have carved your name on the palm of my hands'
of us accompanied her to the bus stand. The bus in which she was supposed to
travel did not arrive. When enquired about it we were told that the bus was
cancelled. Then Sr. Rani said, 'This must be God's will. I will take the next
bus. We shall go back to the convent and return when it is time for the next
bus.' As we were coming back to the convent we saw the bus by the name 'Kapil'
by which she had to travel next. As I knew the conductor I told him: 'One of
our sisters has to go to Indore. Please reserve for her one seat.' He said,
'Sister, this bus leaves at 8.15. You may board the bus in front of the
it was time, the bus arrived in front of the convent. Her companions bade her
farewell. Sr. Rani Maria and I crossed the road. I was carrying her
luggage which I kept at the doorstep of the bus. A youngster, dressed in
white, took it and placed it behind the front door of the bus. When Sr. Rani
Maria stepped in, I heard him telling her, 'you may go back and sit there’. The
bell rang and the bus moved off. As I was returning, I was thinking about
something that happened unusually. Whenever we sisters travel, we were made to
sit at the front of the bus. But today it was just the opposite. What could be
the reason. As I reached the convent, I carried on with my work.”
about 10.45 a.m. the telephone rang. I attended the phone call. I was told that
it was a wireless message from the Police Station. 'Has any of your sisters
gone out?' ‘How many of them?' 'Which way?' 'Where to?' All these
questions were asked and I answered all of them. I enquired to see if any
accidents took place. The person on the other end replied: 'Sister no accident
had taken place, but something worse. After five minutes I shall let you know
more details'. With these words he put off the telephone. I was worried and
confused. I did not know what to do. I called the members of the community and
explained to them about the message. After five minutes when I was not getting
any more telephone call I rang up to the police station. I was shocked to death
to hear the alarming news: 'Your Sister is murdered by someone. The body is
lying on the road. You may go and take the body.' We ran to the chapel. I held
myself to the tabernacle and cried. For about fifteen minutes we stayed there
not knowing what to do; neither we were not able to do anything.
between, let me narrate how Sr. Rani Maria was killed. (I am presenting these
details basing myself on what was told to me by one young man who is our
neighbour and was traveling in the same bus. He narrated the event of murder to
me after a few days it took place. When others in the bus suddenly got down
from the bus this man continued to sit in the bus due to high fever.)
the assassins came in a group of three, the whole murder was committed by a
single person. When the bus reached the entrance of Nachanbore hill, a man
dressed in white, named Samandar Singh, got up, approached the driver and asked
him to stop the bus. As the bus was stopped, he hurried down from the bus. In
his hand there was a coconut. After touching his forehead with the coconut he
threw it down on a stone and broke it into pieces. With the pieces of coconut
he re - entered the bus and distributed them to the passengers. He stretched
out his hand to Sr. Rani with a piece of coconut but withdrew it as if to fool
her. He appeared to be a very happy man. Sr. Rani Maria asked him, 'Why are you
so overjoyed today?' He suddenly drew out a knife and replied, 'it is nothing
but this', and instantly pierced the knife into Sr. Rani Maria's stomach! Blood
gushed forth. 'Jesus'-she cried out. She tried to catch hold of the knife. The
passengers were terrified. They ran down from the bus. The murderer kept on stabbing
her. By that time she understood that the leader who was encouraging the
assassin and telling him to kill her was one who was well known to her. Though
a few people tried to prevent the assassins, they drove them away hurling the
knife at them. The murderer tried to drag her out of the bus. She was writhing
on pain. She caught hold of the iron bar on the bus. He cut those hands!!. He
kicked her out of the seat. Then catching her by the legs he dragged her on to
the door!! Her face was disfigured due to this brutal act. The skin on her face
was peeled off. She cried aloud. He kicked her out of the bus through the door
steps. She was hanging half-way from the bus. He asked the driver, who was
standing far away, to run the bus over her body. But the driver did not succumb
to this terrible and devilish wish. Again, he pulled her fully out of the bus.
He kept on stabbing her all over the body, piercing her head, cheek, forehead,
nose, back and stomach!!! The knife cut her body over fifty times!!! She was screaming
and shouting with severe pain. She loudly cried: 'Jesus, Jesus'. She was no
more able to resist. Her body was gradually becoming lifeless. Slowly she
breathed her last. She died in the midst of the people, many of whom she knew,
some of them whom she did help. Nobody could help her. The assassins were more
powerful. She died an agonizing death. Like Jesus, she too, shedding blood,
laid down her life for her people. The murderers abandoned her lifeless body
and ran away.
me continue to narrate the developments after I received the message of her
murder. As we got the information from the police station, Sr.
Sheeja, Sr. Licy, two doctors and I left hurriedly to the spot of the murder.
On reaching there we were told that the body was brought to the police station
in the same bus. Soon we reached the Kambel Police Station in the district of
Indore. The scene there was astounding. In the midst of thousands of people
there lay the bus. Our Bishop George Anathil, hearing about the murder, had
already reached there. He took us to the bus. The sight in the bus was
heart-breaking. As I looked through the back door of the bus, I turned numb.
Sr. Rani's body lay bathed in blood. We could not control our loud cry. We
lifted up the body and laid it in our vehicle. I sat close to our Rani on the
journey to Indore Bishop's House. I removed the veil from her face. I saw her
mouth wide opened and the tongue shrank inside. One of her eyes was badly
damaged and the tip of the nose was hanging down.
reached in Indore, the mob was flowing on hearing the tragedy. The day after
was Sunday. The body was taken to the Indore Cathedral Church in the morning.
Bishop George Anathil celebrated the Holy Eucharist together with many priests
and people. Later, the body was kept at the centre of the church and people
were flocking to pay her respect.
eight o'clock in the morning, on 27 February, the funeral ceremony began in the
presence of many bishops, priests and people belonging to different religions.
After the Holy Mass the funeral procession set off from Indore towards
Udainagar. The body was laid in a specially prepared bus. More than 130
vehicles escorted the body. The procession crossed through forests, hills and
the by-lanes of the villages. Three kilometers away from Udainagar all the
vehicles were stopped. The people took to foot. They carried the dead body to
our convent. The inmates of the convent were speechless. We all cried!. Rani
was the most active person in the convent till the other day!! Today, our Rani
is life-less!!! How could we face the reality? The coffin was placed at the entrance
of the chapel so that the thousands who were gathered there could pay homage to
"About 12000 people
took part in the funeral and the final services. The eminent people of the
gathering stated their grief in public. By six o'clock in the evening the body
was laid to rest in a specially prepared tomb."
Proclamation of the
Maria was first and foremost an evangelizer. She knew that there were crores of
people in North India who had not heard about Jesus Christ. It was this
knowledge that led her to the missions of the North India. The life and works of
Sr. Rani Maria was based on the Gospel values. Before starting off any journey,
beginning a project or responding to any issues, it was her habit to read and
meditate the Gospels. She often called her collaborators together in the chapel
to read and pray the Bible. The verse that she chose before she went on to her
final journey before her death was the following: "I have carved your name
in the palm of my hands" (Is.49/16). Reading this Sr. Rani Maria said
happily, "I am in the hands of the Lord and I have nothing to fear."
Bishop Abraham Mattom recollects: "Sr. Rani Maria was convinced that an
evangelizer should be interested in the life of the poor to give them Christ,
his love, and his redeeming message, thereby helping them to attain spiritual
growth and material welfare."
was her custom to begin her activities in the villages by singing a bhajan,
which would be followed by a reading from the Gospel and then a prayer based on
the Gospel of the day. She was very innovative in proclaiming the Gospel. She
dramatically presented the parable of the "Prodigal Son', 'Good Samaritan'
and the 'Samaritan Woman' with the help of the puppet show. She shared with
others the message of Christ by means of devotional hymns, bhajans and so on.
Sr. Lisa Rose testifies about her works of evangelization: “'you received
everything freely and now you give freely'- this was a way of life for Sr. Rani
Maria. Often she broke the Word of God with others. At times, after house
visits of the villagers she looked sad. When asked for the reason she would say
that she could not give the message of Jesus to any one on that day. In her
missionary works she took great care to take along with her the Holy Bible and
other books dealing with the lives of the saints. She distributed them to the
persons she met in the villages. Thus her life was firmly Gospel based. In her
efforts to evangelize she showed the courage of a prophet." Sr. Marianna
evaluates: "Sr. Rani Maria had a special enthusiasm to call on the name of
Jesus and pray among the non-Christians. She encouraged all to proclaim the
name of Jesus courageously everywhere."
At the same
time evangelization for her was not a forced conversion. Majority of her
collaborators, friends and beneficiaries were non-Christians. She never showed
any sign of intolerance to the followers of other religions. She never kept
them at a distance nor was she partial. Even when she spoke zealously about
Christ, the non-Christians respected her and she loved them. Of the 12000
people who took part in her funeral service the majority was consisted of
Act of Forgiveness
martyrdom of Sr. Rani Maria, her family has forgiven the murderer Samunder
Singh. Sr. Selmy, younger sister of Sr.Rani Maria narrates about the
long seven years of prayer, on 15th July 2002, I got a phone call from Fr.
Swami Sadanand CMI. He asked me ‘Are you ready to go and visit Samunder Singh
in the jail?’ It was a surprise at the same time a great joy for me. I replied
I was waiting for this since long. But who will take me to jail? Fr. Sadanand
agreed to make arrangements for the visit. He took permission from my
Provincial and Bishop of Indore. They were ready for the same. This was for the
first time that I met Fr. Swami Sadanand CMI – a man filled with the Spirit of
God and love for all men and all creatures. So I was convinced that Fr. Swamy
was the holy priest whom the Holy Spirit chose as the messenger of
reconciliation. Irrespective of cast and creed he accepted everyone. A good
doctor for the sick, a good friend for sinners, a good water diviner to those
who have no water. As water diviner he reached Udayanagar in 1999 for the first
“It was at
this time that we heard the verdict on Sr. Rani Maria’s assassin -Samunder
Singh. He was sentenced to life long imprisonment. Fr. Swami Sadanand heard
about the verdict and he thought that something needs to be done for this man
because Sr. Rani did well to all and went for her heavenly reward. For this why
should a man spend the whole of his life in the jail? Father could know the
jail where he was, because he was already an active member in the Prison
Ministry. He visited Samunder in the jail several times and counselled him.
Only then he contacted me over phone. Samunder said to Fr. Swami ‘My mistake is
grievous. No one in the world can forgive me’.
August2002 Rakhabanhab day along with Fr.Swami, Provincial Sr.Lissy Jose,
Superior Sr. Grace Mary and me started our journey to Central Jail, Indore. I
had carried Rakhi and sweets with me. On reaching the jail, the police men
brought Samunder Singh before us. Fr. Swami introduced me to him. He was
shivering... Then he prostrated in front of us and pleaded–‘Forgive
me....forgive me...I am doing penance…forgive me.’ I said in reply; ‘God has
forgiven you. We too forgive you... be at peace.’ Then I tied rakhi in
the hands stained with the blood of my sister Rani and kissing it I accepted
him as my brother. Then I gave the sweet – laddu to him. He expressed his love
and gratitude by placing the laddu in the mouth of every one. Fr. Swami
embraced him. My heart was filled with peace and joy much more than ever
before. It was really a heavenly experience for me. I received the grace to
feel that he is my own brother.
shared this news to my parents and siblings, they too expressed their desire to
go to jail and meet Samunder. Thus once again on 24th February 2003, I
accompanied by my mother, brother Stephen, Mother General Rev. Sr. Marianna,
Fr. George Pulikalan- parish priest of Pulluvazy, Fr.Swami and Fr. Prasad SVD,
went to the Central Jail in Indore and met Samunder Singh. My mother Eliswa
expressed her forgiveness by kissing his hands which were stained once by the
blood of her own daughter and accepted him as her son. She gave him the sweets
she had brought from home. Which heart will not melt at the affection of such a
mother towards her daughter’s assassin?
could not come due to his ill health. Samunder had given a letter for my family
members when I went to tie Rakhi on 11 August 2003. In that letter he had asked
pardon to everyone in the family and had expressed his desire to go home and
meet her parents when he comes out in parol.
result of the contacts with the high officials Fr.Swamy could succeeded in
bringing him out in parole. On the way he visited Bishop Goerge Anathil in
Bishop’s House, Indore and seeked his blessings. The next day he visited
Sr.Rani’s tomb and room at Udainagar along with Swamiji and me. We had lunch
with sisters at Snehasadan. He spent his parole at home and went back to jail
with a greatful heart. He got parole for the second time also. Slowly I felt
that if he is my brother and he was forgiven by all, why he should remain in
jail. When I shared my feelings to Swamiji he was of the same opinion and
suggested me about his release. When we approached Bishop Anathil he also
agreed to the idea and co-operated whole heartedly. Fr. Swamy Sadanand drafted
the application and we submitted it to Chief Minister, Jail Minister, IG and SP
with the sign of Bishop Anathil, our Provincial Sr. Rosily, my parents and me.
Fr. Swamy Sadanand met the Governor personally and gave application to him.
Governor said, ‘Only you Christians could forgive this way.’ It was a long
process. After one year, we were asked again to submit application in stamp
paper. We completed all the formalities. Then after one year, on 22 August
2006, the same day of Sr.Rani’s feast, Samunder was released from Jail. It was
very surprising because just one week ago officials told me that it will not
happen soon. I thanked God for His great intervention.
her aging father fell sick. He was at home in Pulluvazhi near Perumbavoor,
Kerala. Fr. Sadanand wanted the father to meet Samunder Singh at the nearest
and grand him for forgiveness as well as his paternal blessings.
while we were talking on telephone I mentioned to Samunder about my father’s
serious illness. Immediately he expressed his desire to visit my parents at
home in Kerela. I went home early. On13th jan. 2007 Swamiji and Samunder
reached my home at pulluvazhy in Ernakulam Dt, Kerala. It was a great event in
my life. Samunder prostrated down at the feet of my mother. She accepted him as
her own son. Then I took him to my father who was bed ridden for a long time.
Samunder kissed his hands and sat down asking pardon. When I introduced him to
others he was struggling to face them. After receiving blessings from parents
and sibilings he had lunch with us. Then, he was taken to the room where Rani’s
photo was kept. When we sang a hymn he could not control himself. He
cried bitterly…My mother hugged him.. consoled him.. though she was in
tears. The whole family was in sobs and tears…Before leaving my home Samunder
told me again and again…. ‘I can bear these tears … but not the tears of
mother…. How can a mother forgive the murderer of her daughter?’ I told him,
‘She has forgiven everything and has accepted you as her own son.’ He looked at
me in surprise… During his short stay in Kerala, Samundar visited FCC
Generalate, and the Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil.
presence of Samunder Singh on every death anniversary of Sr.Rani Maria is a
real surprise to the participants. On Raksha Bandhan day, wherever I may be
Samunder visits me and we continue the custom of tying rakhi. If I call him for
anything he comes like a faithful brother keeping aside all his works and
“On 25th April
2016, Fr. Swami Sadanand who was a heart patient breathed his last in a centre
of mentally disabled children run by Augustinian Sisters in Kandua. It was
heart breaking news indeed. Fr. Swami was on his way to Dewas jail for a
visit. I was in Kerala at that time. As soon as I got the news, I
informed Samunder Singh. I started from Kerala. The funeral was on 30th April.
His mortal remains were entrusted to AIMS medical college for the medical
students according to his wish. A man becoming alive after death..
Samunder along with his wife Swati escorted Swamiji to the medical college and
he fulfilled all his responsibilities to his spiritual father like a faithful
son. With his blessings he is going forward courageously.
“One day I
asked Samunder about what were his feelings when he prayed at the tomb of Sr.
Rani Maria. He replied ‘I had fear in the beginning, but later I started
experiencing a kind of peace and happiness in the mind and I felt some rays
from sky falling on me. I used to pray to Rani Didi whenever I go for some
2016 I got the news of my mother’s serious illness, I started to Kerala. Her
condition was deteriorating day by day. One day Samunder rang up to me. I could
not but tell him about my mother’s condition. I knew that he would come home
when he gets the news about her illness. Now Fr. Swami is no more and I will
have to care for him. Samunder reached home on 31 August 2016. He gave a
spoonful of water to mother and she drank it. He spent almost two to three
hours with mother. Rev. Fr. Josanto–the brother of Fr. Swami came
to my help. I sent Samunder to Sagar Mission House. As if my mother waited for
her third son Samunder to reach, at 11 pm, on 2 September 2016 her holy soul
flew away to heaven for her eternal reward. As soon as Samunder got the news he
reached Aluva in Kerala and accompanied by Mother General Ann Joseph, General
Councillor Sr. Starly and other team members reached home to pay his last
tribute to mother. He carried the coffin of mother along with the other sons
and fulfilled his duties as the third son.”
Sr. Rani Maria’s
beatification: ‘A joy for India’
ON: NOVEMBER 2,
TAGGED: SISTER RANI MARIA
The CBCI Secretariat has
issued a Press Release on November 2, ahead of the Beatification of Sister Rani
Maria which will be held on November 4, in Indore, India.
Sister Rani Maria,
professed sister of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation whose cause was cleared
for beatification on March 23, 2017 will be declared ‘Blessed’ at a ceremony to
be held on November 4 in Indore.
Beatification is the
penultimate stage in the four-phased canonization process in the Catholic
Church. Rani Maria’s cause of canonization began in 2003 and she was declared a
Servant of God four years later.
Sr. Rani Maria died of 54
stab wounds from an assassin in central India 22 years ago. The assassin Samandar
Singh who was hired by some landlords, stabbed her inside a bus on February 25,
1995. He followed her when she ran out of the crowded bus and continued to stab
her. She died on the roadside at Nachanbore Hill, near Indore.
ceremony will take place on the premises of St Paul’s Higher Secondary School
near St Francis Assisi Cathedral in Indore. It will be jointly organised by the
Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly and the Franciscan Clarist Congregation(FCC),
the religious order to which Sister Rani Maria belonged.
The full text of the CBCI
Press Release is here below:
Beatification of Sister
The Catholic Church in
India rejoices on the occasion of the Beatification of Sr. Rani Maria and gives
thanks to God for giving the people of India another Saint as a model to
imitate and as an intercessor in Heaven. Sr. Rani Maria will be beatified on
Saturday, November 4, 2017, at Indore. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of
the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, is coming down specially from the
Vatican to preside over the Ceremony. All four Indian Cardinals, the Apostolic
Nuncio to India, nearly 50 Bishops and hundreds of Priests, Sisters and lay
faithful will participate in the Solemn Ceremony.
Sister Rani Maria Vattalil,
a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, was slain on 25th February,
1995. According to the Police she was stabbed 54 times in front of more than 50
bus passengers in a jungle area near Udainagar (Madhya Pradesh) allegedly at
the behest of moneylenders affected by the nun’s social work among village
women, who were organizing self-help groups.
The Beatification of
Sister Rani Maria is a declaration by the Pope as head of the Church that the
deceased Sister had died a martyr’s death and is now dwelling in heaven. As a
process, the beatification consisted a long examination of the life, virtues,
writings, and reputation for holiness. Sister Rani Maria will now be called
“Blessed” and may be venerated by the faithful in
India and some other specific places.
Samandar Singh, the man
who served a prison term for the 1995 murder of Sr. Rani, told Asia News in
2010 “I accept full responsibility for my heinous murder of Sr. Rani Maria. I
cannot say that I was instigated, because my own hands stabbed her repeatedly
and for this, I will regret my actions till the day I die.” He went on to say
“In my own small way, I try to follow her example, helping those who are less
fortunate than me, like Tribal Christians and all those who are marginalised.”
The whole Catholic
Church, while being filled with joy also looks upon Blessed Rani Maria as a
model of sacrifice and selfless witness. As the Bishop of Indore, Bishop Chacko
Thottumarickal expresses it so beautifully: “Blessed Rani Maria is a model for
us as she was ready to shed her blood for the sake of the poor and
downtrodden”. The President of the CBCI, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the
Cardinal, Office-Bearers and Bishops wish the people of Indore all God’s
We take this opportunity
to thank the Government of India and the Government of Madhya Pradesh for all
the support given to the Catholic Church in organizing this celebration.
May the Blessed Rani
Maria intercede for us in our work for the deprived and marginalized sections
of our society.
God bless India.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India
(Source: Vatican Radio)
Beata Regina Maria
(Mariam) Vattalil Vergine e martire
India, 29 gennaio 1954 - Udaingar, Madhya Pradesh, India, 25 febbraio 1995
Mariam Vattalil, nata
nello Stato indiano del Kerala da una famiglia di contadini, entrò a vent’anni
nella congregazione delle Suore Francescane Clarisse. Determinata a portare il
Vangelo tra le popolazioni più povere del nord dell’India, avviò programmi di
sensibilizzazione per gli abitanti dei villaggi. Dotata di un’intelligenza
vivace e di un genuino spirito di preghiera, era convinta che nessun sacrificio
potesse essere eccessivo per ottenere la liberazione totale proclamata da Gesù.
Tuttavia, la sua azione missionaria risultò sgradita ai proprietari terrieri e
agli usurai che sfruttavano i contadini. Il 25 febbraio 1995, mentre era
sull’autobus che l’avrebbe riportata a casa, fu aggredita da un giovane,
Samundar Singh: fu uccisa a coltellate. Aveva 41 anni. La sua causa di
beatificazione si è svolta nella diocesi di Indore dal 29 giugno 2005 al 28
giugno 2007. È stata beatificata a Indore il 4 novembre 2017, sotto il
pontificato di papa Francesco.
Infanzia e famiglia
Mariam Vattalil nacque a Pulluvazhy, nello Stato indiano del Kerala, il 29 gennaio 1954. I suoi genitori, Pally ed Eliswa, contadini, la battezzarono secondo il rito siro-malabarese, in vigore nel Kerala, presso la chiesa di San Tommaso del loro villaggio, il 5 febbraio 1954. Oltre a lei, la secondogenita, ebbero altri sei figli, cinque femmine e due maschi.
Mariam, o Marykunju (corrispettivo di “Mariuccia” o “Marietta”), come la chiamavano affettuosamente in famiglia, ricevette poi la Prima Comunione e la Cresima il 30 aprile 1966. Grazie ai genitori e ai nonni, comprese prestissimo l’importanza della preghiera: sin da piccola partecipava regolarmente alla Messa e alle devozioni popolari. Frequentava poi il catechismo e s’impegnava a mettere in pratica nella vita quanto imparava.
Ha raccontato suo fratello Stephen: «Era una ragazza di poche parole, indossava
solo abiti molto semplici e non mostrava nessun interesse per gli ornamenti.
Non fece mai niente che potesse ferire qualcuno. Se capitava qualcosa di increscioso,
ne era dispiaciuta». I genitori avevano ben ragione di essere orgogliosi di
lei, se sua madre ricorda: «Era diversa dalle altre ragazze ed era
La sua formazione scolastica iniziò col “Kalari”, la forma tradizionale d’istruzione che anticipava la scuola elementare, che durò due anni. In seguito, Mariam fu iscritta alla Scuola Primaria Governativa di Pulluvazhy e proseguì gli studi nell’Istituto Jayakeralam della stessa città.
Tra un dovere scolastico e l’altro, trovava tempo per aiutare suo padre nel lavoro dei campi e sua madre nelle faccende domestiche. Mostrava inoltre uno spiccato interesse e un amore particolare verso i servi di casa, coi quali spesso si fermava a parlare.
Dato che il suo diploma della scuola secondaria si prospettava buono, i
genitori inviarono Mariam al Liceo San Giuseppe di Tripunithura. Sotto la guida
delle suore insegnanti, fece notevoli progressi, sia a livello intellettivo sia
spirituale, nella sua vita scolastica e nel collegio interno.
Mentre frequentava l’ultimo anno delle superiori, Mariam, che a scuola era detta Mary, riconobbe di sentirsi chiamata a diventare suora. Condivideva il suo stesso sogno una cugina, Cicily, con la quale iniziò a frequentare il convento delle suore Francescane Clarisse.
Da non confondersi con le monache fondate dai santi Francesco e Chiara d’Assisi, erano e sono una congregazione religiosa nata proprio in India, sul finire del 1800, per il servizio ai più abbandonati. A quella congregazione appartiene anche la prima santa di nazionalità indiana, suor Alfonsa dell’Immacolata Concezione, canonizzata nel 2008.
Mariam era preoccupata per la reazione dei suoi congiunti, ma un giorno si fece coraggio e annunciò che sarebbe entrata in convento. I fratelli e le sorelle si opposero fermamente e chiesero al loro padre di non concederle il permesso. L’uomo replicò: «Ma se lei insiste, che ci posso fare? Se Dio desidera così, come possiamo andare contro questo?».
Udendo la conversazione, intervenne la nonna: «Perché vi opponete che Marykunju
entri in convento? Non va forse per una causa nobile? Quanti genitori
desiderano che i loro figli diventino preti e suore? Lo ottengono sempre? La
vocazione alla vita religiosa non è concessa a tutti. Dio la concede solo ad
alcuni». A quelle parole sagge, tutti ammutolirono.
Tra le Suore Francescane Clarisse
Il 3 luglio 1972 Mariam e Cicily iniziarono il periodo di aspirantato, durato fino al 30 ottobre 1972, nel convento delle Francescane Clarisse a Kidangoor. Seguirono il postulandato, dal 1° novembre 1972 al 29 aprile 1973, e il noviziato, dal 30 aprile 1973 allo stesso giorno dell’anno successivo.
Il 1° maggio 1974, Mariam compì la sua prima professione nella congregazione
delle Francescane Clarisse. Il suo nome religioso fu suor Rani Maria; Rani è
corrispettivo di “Regina”. La cugina Cicily, invece, assunse quello di suor
I primi tempi da religiosa
La sua maestra durante l’aspirantato e il postulandato, suor Gladys, ha testimoniato: «Aveva sempre un viso sorridente ed era una ragazza intelligente. Faceva tutto alla perfezione e non si lamentava di nulla. Non aveva bisogno di alcuna correzione. Restando salda in ciò che è vero e giusto, parlava sempre molto apertamente».
Una connovizia, suor Alze Maria, l’ha invece descritta in questi termini: «Durante il periodo di formazione, eravamo impegnate in vari compiti. Dovevamo fare tutto da noi a gruppi. Tutte volevano avere suor Rani nel proprio gruppo.
Pulivamo la casa, la stalla, i gabinetti e i bagni. Lei era sempre la prima per questi lavori umili. Suor Rani Maria era abituata a santificare ogni istante recitando giaculatorie o canticchiando inni sacri. Durante le sue ore di lavoro, la sua giaculatoria preferita era il nome di Gesù».
La maestra di noviziato, suor Infant Mary (suor Maria Bambina), ha confermato:
«Era unica nella preghiera, negli studi, nell’osservanza delle regole, nelle
responsabilità che le venivano affidate; in breve, in tutto. Non era mai
infastidita dalle altre o con le altre. Era imparziale quando veniva chiamata a
indicare i difetti delle altre e lo faceva con precisione. Era sempre molto
preoccupata della volontà di Dio».
Chiamata a servire i poveri nel nord dell’India
Suor Infant Mary visitava di frequente le missioni della congregazione e spesso raccontava alle novizie la situazione nel nord dell’India: milioni di persone, illetterate e povere, non conoscevano il Vangelo. Suor Rani Maria si sentì chiamata a portarlo a quella gente e iniziò sempre più spesso a ripetere: «Anch’io voglio andare nel nord dell’India per servire i poveri e morire per loro».
In effetti, le Francescane Clarisse erano state le prime missionarie donne
autoctone, negli anni ’60 del secolo scorso, inviate a evangelizzare i
territori settentrionali del Paese. La loro opera era particolarmente
difficile, dato che l’Induismo aveva plasmato la società secondo un sistema di
caste, ancora in vigore nei villaggi rurali.
Il servizio a Bijnor
Profondamente determinata a portare avanti quella chiamata missionaria, suor Rani Maria assunse come motto il passo biblico che Gesù lesse nella sinagoga di Nazareth, come racconta il Vangelo secondo Luca. Più concretamente, dovette imparare la lingua del luogo perché la sua azione potesse essere più efficace.
Così, dal 9 luglio 1975, si diede allo studio presso la Casa provincializia delle Suore di Nostra Signora a Patna. Il 24 dicembre 1975 arrivò al convento di Santa Maria, nella diocesi di Bijnor, che considerò sempre la culla della sua vita missionaria.
A causa della carenza di maestri locali qualificati, suor Rani Maria fu nominata maestra nella scuola di Santa Maria a Bijnor, benché desiderasse servire i poveri nei villaggi. Nei due anni d’insegnamento, dall’8 settembre 1976 al 7 agosto 1978, si dedicava al servizio sociale, nel quale s’impegnò più intensamente una volta terminato l’incarico scolastico.
Per essere ancora più competente nella missione tra i contadini, studiò Sociologia e, in parallelo, continuava il suo apostolato. Il 22 maggio 1980 compì la professione solenne nella chiesa di sant’Hormis ad Ankamaly.
Benché non avesse trascorso molti anni a Bijnor, riuscì a raggiungere bambini e
malati nei villaggi dell’interno e nelle capanne. Il parroco di Bijnor, padre
Varghese Kottoor, ricordò: «La semplicità francescana di suor Rani catturava i
cuori e le menti di tutti coloro coi quali entrava in contatto». Suor Infant
Mary confermò: «Freddo pungente, caldo intenso, pasti irregolari, carenza
d’acqua e viaggi attraverso momenti pericolosi o di solitudine e sconforto…
nulla era un ostacolo per suor Rani Maria».
Il 21 luglio 1983, suor Rani Maria fu trasferita a Odagady, in diocesi di Satna. Arrivò sul posto il 25 luglio e venne nominata coordinatrice delle attività sociali. Convintissima che nessun sacrificio sarebbe stato eccessivo per ottenere la liberazione totale proclamata da Gesù, organizzò programmi educativi per bambini, giovani e anziani. Fece prendere coscienza ai poveri riguardo alla loro condizione di sfruttamento, così da assumere pienamente i loro diritti e doveri di cittadini indiani.
Cominciarono quindi minacce alla sua vita, perché, secondo i suoi persecutori, la sua opera era in realtà un’attività di proselitismo. Invece di spaventarsi, suor Rani Maria era ancora più entusiasta e zelante nel suo impegno.
Insegnò anche il catechismo alle famiglie cristiane che si erano stabilite a Odagady prima dell’arrivo dei missionari, mentre i non cristiani erano attratti dal suo amore per loro e dalla sua instancabile attività.
In mezzo alle sue innumerevoli incombenze, suor Rani Maria trovò il tempo per
un ritiro di due mesi, in silenzio e solitudine, presso la Casa di preghiera
“Porziuncola” annessa alla Casa generalizia delle Suore Clarisse Francescane ad
Aluva. Dal 30 maggio 1989 al 15 dello stesso mese del 1992 fu superiora locale
e, intanto, conseguì un master in Sociologia all’università di Rewa. Infine,
ebbe l’incarico di consulente per il Dipartimento dei servizi sociali della
Provincia di Amala della sua congregazione.
Trasferita il 15 maggio 1992 a Sneha Sadan presso Udainagar, suor Rani Maria vi arrivò dopo tre giorni di viaggio. Grazie alla sua esperienza, studiò attentamente lo stato di vita degli abitanti: si rese conto che erano caduti in una trappola tesa da parte dei commercianti di Udainagar, diventando dipendenti dagli usurai che divoravano le loro magre entrate e le loro proprietà.
Suor Rani Maria attuò quindi alcuni programmi di coscientizzazione, che diedero i loro frutti: i poveri di Udainagar divennero cittadini attivi e responsabili. Lei stessa andò a protestare presso gli ufficiali governativi, ma riceveva solo rifiuti e derisioni per il suo interesse verso i fuoricasta.
Una novizia che l’accompagnò a un colloquio col direttore di una banca ha
raccontato che, tenendo in mano il crocifisso che portava al collo, suor Rani
Maria dichiarò: “Signore, noi abbiamo accettato questo stile di vita e siamo
venute qui perché non abbiamo mezzi di sussistenza a casa, e non perché i
nostri genitori ci hanno cacciate di casa. Guardi! Abbiamo accettato questo
stile di vita, una vita di sacrificio, per lavorare per Cristo nei poveri”.
Gradualmente riuscì a ottenere l’ammirazione anche dei governativi, grazie ai
suoi modi gentili, alla sua azione disinteressata e, soprattutto, alla sua maniera
cortese di parlare. Inoltre, insegnò ad alcuni giovani come aiutare i poveri e
loro stessi tramite l’assistenza finanziaria delle banche private di Udainagar
La preghiera di suor Rani Maria
La preghiera era la radice del suo impegno: si alzava ogni giorno alle quattro del mattino e trascorreva molto tempo in preghiera personale. Quanto a quella comunitaria, la guidava in maniera attiva e con gioia.
Nelle sue note personali, lasciò scritte alcune invocazioni. Ad esempio: «Signore, aiutami ad accettare il tuo amore nei giorni buoni e in quelli cattivi, quando sono delusa di me stessa e quando sono forte. Aiutami a credere profondamente nel tuo amore immutabile, cosicché io possa sempre gioire in esso senza paure e preoccupazioni».
O anche: «Padre, io sono debole e lontana dalle virtù. Aiutami a rendermi conto
che tu usi i deboli del mondo per confondere i forti. Mostrami come fare il
prossimo passo nel mio desiderio di costruire il tuo Regno. Benedici i miei
umili sforzi, cosicché io possa glorificare il tuo nome con la mia vita. Amen».
Un rischio ponderato
Nel frattempo, i programmi di sviluppo avviati da suor Rani Maria avevano
iniziato a essere avversati dagli usurai e dagli sfruttatori dei contadini.
L’unico modo per arrestare quel processo appariva essere quello di togliere di
mezzo colei che ne era stata l’ispiratrice. L’idea si fece concreta dopo che la
religiosa era riuscita a far uscire dal carcere alcuni fedeli cattolici,
erroneamente coinvolti in un tumulto.
Suor Rani Maria sapeva di essere presa di mira, ma non volle in alcun modo fermarsi. Il 17 febbraio 1995, in visita alla Casa provincializia in occasione della visita canonica della Madre generale, dichiarò: «Non dovremmo cercare sicurezza e comodità nella nostra opera missionaria. Con coraggio e fiducia in Dio sempre di più le suore dovrebbero essere pronte a rischiare loto stesse nel servire i poveri e i bisognosi nei villaggi sottosviluppati delle missioni». Nella stessa occasione confidò alla sua ex maestra di noviziato: «Desidererei morire martire per amore di Gesù e per i miei poveri fratelli oppressi».
Il mattino del 25 febbraio 1995, suor Rani Maria si alzò presto come suo solito, anche perché doveva prendere il primo autobus per Indore; di lì avrebbe dovuto dirigersi alla Casa provincializia di Bhopal e proseguire per il suo nativo Kerala. Prima di uscire, secondo una sua abitudine, la suora prese la Bibbia e la aprì a caso. Uscì il versetto 16 del capitolo 49 del profeta Isaia: «Non aver paura! Ecco, sulle palme delle mie mani ti ho disegnato».
Accompagnata da due consorelle, suor Rani Maria andò alla fermata, ma le venne detto che era saltata una corsa. Mentre tornavano indietro, le suore videro l’autobus su cui avrebbe dovuto salire. Un’altra religiosa, suor Liza Rose, chiese al conducente di riservare un posto a suor Rani Maria: fu risposto che avrebbe potuto salire di fronte al convento, alle 8.15.
Quando il mezzo arrivò, suor Rani Maria salutò le altre suore, mentre suor Liza
l’aiutò col bagaglio a mano. Tuttavia, un giovane vestito di bianco posò la
borsa accanto al conducente e chiese alla suora di sedersi dietro: era un fatto
strano, poiché alle suore veniva riservato un posto nella parte anteriore del
Nel corso del viaggio, un uomo, Jeevan Singh, che era stato coinvolto in alcuni tumulti precedenti, cominciò a insultare la suora, accusandola di proselitismo. Quando il bus raggiunse una giungla a circa venti chilometri da Udainagar, un giovane sulla ventina, Samundar Singh, seduto accanto a suor Rani Maria, si alzò dal posto e chiese al conducente di fermare l’autobus.
Scese e infranse una noce di cocco contro una roccia, offrendone i pezzi agli altri passeggeri, una volta salito: era un “puja”, una forma di preghiera indù. Fece per darne uno anche alla suora, ma glielo tolse subito dopo.
«Perché sei così allegro, oggi?», domandò lei. Estraendo un coltello, il giovane rispose: «Solo per questo», e glielo infilzò nello stomaco. Mentre lui la pugnalava ripetutamente, il bus si fermò: l’aggressore scese e continuò a colpire la suora, finché non morì. Nessuno dei passeggeri osò soccorrerla, molti fuggirono. Finché ebbe fiato, suor Rani Maria continuò a ripetere la sua preghiera preferita, il nome di Gesù.
Verso le 10.45, le suore furono informate dalla polizia che il corpo di suor Rani Maria era stato rinvenuto lungo la strada, accanto all’autobus abbandonato. Il vescovo di Indore, monsignor George Anathil, andò insieme ad alcuni sacerdoti e, dopo le formalità legali, portò il cadavere in episcopio per la camera ardente. L’autopsia riscontrò che la suora aveva subito 40 ferite gravi e 14 ecchimosi.
I funerali si tennero il 27 febbraio nella cattedrale di Indore, piena di
gente. Il corpo della suora fu quindi sepolto a Udainagar, dove si raccolse una
folla di persone in lutto, senza distinzione di casta o di credo religioso.
Un legame nato dal perdono
Tra le sorelle di suor Rani Maria, una di esse, Celine, prese i voti nella sua
stessa congregazione, nel 1984, diventando suor Selmy Paul. Di fronte al
cadavere della sorella, inizialmente ebbe un moto di ribellione nei confronti
di Dio. Quando si fu calmata, chiese la grazia di poter perdonare l’assassino.
Dopo varie richieste andate a vuoto, suor Selmy Paul poté incontrare Samundar Singh, che scontava la sua pena nel carcere di Indore. Era il 21 agosto 2002, in cui quell’anno cadeva la festività indù del Rakshabandhan, che prevede la nascita di nuovi legami di protezione tra le persone. Legando un filo ornato (il “rakhi”) al polso di Samundar, suor Selmy Paul si pose idealmente sotto la sua protezione: l’uomo, commosso, le manifestò il proprio pentimento.
Anche Eliswa, la madre di suor Rani Maria e di suor Selmy Paul, volle incontrare il prigioniero otto anni dopo l’uccisione della figlia. Baciò le sue mani, spiegando in seguito: «Desideravo compiere questo gesto, baciare le mani che avevano ucciso mia ﬁglia, perché quelle mani erano bagnate del suo sangue».
Samundar Singh è stato scarcerato dopo undici anni, anche per intervento della
Madre provinciale delle Francescane Clarisse, dalla famiglia di suor Rani Maria
e del vescovo di Indore. La sua vicenda di pentimento e perdono è stata
raccontata nel 2014 nel film documentario «Il cuore dell’assassino», di
Fama di martirio e avvio della causa di beatificazione
Immediatamente dopo la sua uccisione, suor Rani Maria cominciò a essere ritenuta una martire, seppure non ufficialmente. Alla sua tomba si recavano sempre più persone, alcune delle quali affermarono di aver ricevuto delle grazie singolari per sua intercessione.
Per questo motivo, le Suore Francescane Clarisse domandarono di poter avviare
la sua causa di beatificazione, per l’accertamento del martirio in odio alla
fede. Dopo il nulla osta da parte della Santa Sede, il 26 settembre 2003, è
stata aperta il 29 giugno 2005 a Indore l’inchiesta diocesana, conclusa il 28
giugno 2007. Gli atti del processo sono stati convalidati il 27 novembre 2009.
Il riconoscimento del martirio e la beatificazione
La “Positio super martyrio”, consegnata nel 2014, è stata esaminata dai Consultori teologi della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi l’11 febbraio 2016 e, con valutazione altrettanto positiva, dai cardinali e dai vescovi membri della stessa Congregazione il 21 marzo 2017. Due giorni dopo, il 23 marzo, papa Francesco ha autorizzato la promulgazione del decreto con cui suor Rani Maria è stata dichiarata ufficialmente martire.
La beatificazione della religiosa è stata celebrata il 4 novembre 2017 a Saint Paul Institute of Professional Studies di Indore. A presiedere il rito, in qualità di delegato del Santo Padre, il cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefetto della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi.
Autore: Emilia Flocchini