Indian nun among five new ‘Venerable’ declared by Pope Francis

Sister Maria Celina Kannanaikal was reported to have been persecuted during her novitiate because of her “mystical experiences”

An Indian nun was among five people declared by Pope Francis as “Venerable,” the second stage in the process of sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Sister Maria Celina Kannanaikal, a member of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate congregation, was reported to have been persecuted during her novitiate because of her “mystical experiences.”

Her superiors recognized her “holiness” although many opposed her admission to the congregation. After a six-month extension of her stay in the novitiate – beyond the canonical two years – she was admitted to her first religious profession on June 20, 1957.

Soon after her profession, she became seriously ill, but no one was able to make a definite diagnosis of her illness.

She died in 1957 at the age of 26, just 35 days after her religious profession in Cannanore (now Kannur), a town in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Sister Kannanaikal was born on Feb. 13, 1931, in Kundanoor in Kerala’s Trichur diocese. She taught in two primary schools before joining the congregation on June 24, 1954.

She entered the novitiate on December 26, 1954.

As a novice, she suffered “extraordinary trials and tribulations,” that caused physical pain and mental anguish. Her novitiate directress Mother Stefania Murelli helped her endure the suffering.

The future nun reportedly had visions, including Jesus and the Little Flower appearing to her many times.

The congregation’s records show that she had total abandonment of her will to God, utterly depending on God and submission to His Will manifested through her superiors.

On her day of profession, Jesus appeared to her and told her that He would come soon to take her to heaven with Him.

She was buried on July 26, 1957, in the cemetery at Cannanore.

Many favors attributed to her prayers and intercession have been reported.

The cause for her beatification was initiated on July 29, 2007. Her body was exhumed on Feb. 29, 2012, and reburied in a new tomb in the chapel of the Mother House of at Payyambalam. – from a report on Matters India

Related Stories