Born on 19 August 1910 in the village of Arpookara in the princely state of Travancore (now Kerala) as Anna Muttathupadathu in a rich Syro-Malabar Nasrani family, she was locally known as Alphonsamma, Here parents were Cherian Ousep and Mary Muttathupadathu in Kudamalloor, near Kottayam. This lies within the Archdiocese of Changanassery.
Nicknamed Annakkutty (little Anna), despite being from a rich family Anna's early childhood was not a happy one with the loss of her loving mother at a young age. She was raised by her foster mother who did not give her love and affection as normally children of her age would expect at that time. Consequently, she went through untold sufferings in her household. With her great-uncle, Father Joseph Muttathupadathu paying attention to her studies, she did her schooling in Arpookara in 1916. Upon receiving her First Communion on 27 November 1917, Anna moved over to other school in 1918 in Muttuchira. Her foster mother wanted to get her married off pretty soon so that she could settle down as a house wife in a rich family.
Anna became a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, and with their help she successfully completed her schooling.
At the Clarist convent at Bharananganam, Kottayam district, Anna received the postulant's veil on 2 August 1928 and took the name Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception in honour of St. Alphonsus Ligouri, whose feast day it was. In May 1929 Sister Alphonsa became a teacher in Malayalam High School at Vazhappally. In August 1931, Alphonsa at Bharananganam completed the novitiate and took her first vows.
|Saint Alphnosa. www stalphonsamissionva org|
|Postal stamp 2008 in honor of Saint Alphonsa. Syro Malabar Church|
|St Mary’s Forane Church in Bharananganam Tomb of Saint Alphonsa/en.wikipedia.org|
After confirmation of some miraculous events, on 2 December 1953, Cardinal Tisserant inaugurated the diocesan process for her beatification and Alphonsa was declared a Servant of God. In 1985, Pope John Paul II formally approved a miracle attributed to her intercession and on 9 July she became "Venerable Sr. Alphonsa".
Pope John Paul II, on his his Apostolic Pilgrimage to India, beautified Venerable Sister Alphonsa along with Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara, T.O.C.D., at Kottayam, on 8 February 1986. The latter was beautified because in December 1936, it is claimed that Sister Alphonsa was cured from her ailments through the intervention of the Kuriakose Elias Chavara.
The Pope admitted that Sister Alphonsa constantly accepted all her sufferings with serenity and trust in God. In her letter to her spiritual director, she mentioned: ".....as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this, but anything else besides, even to the end of the world. I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering" (20 November 1944)....".
|Commemorative coin released by the Reserve Bank of India.en wikipedia org|