Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, 1876-1926
Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan was inspired by the Saints’ examples. Born in India in 1876, her family had once been wealthy but lost their fortune. She grew up with a strong devotion to God, fasting four times a week and praying the Marian Rosary several times a day.
By the time she was fifteen, she began helping the poor, nursing the sick, and comforting the lonely people of her parish. In her village of Kerala, she gave medical and spiritual care to even those suffering the worst cases of smallpox and leprosy. If they died, she took care of their orphaned children.
Finally, by the early 1900s, her true calling made itself known to her. With the blessings of the Vicar Apostolic of her province, she had a prayer house built and moved in with three companions. They led a life of prayer and austerity, but they continued to minister to the poor and sick.
In 1914, under Mariam’s guidance, the Congregation of the Holy Family, or CHF, came into existence. She was appointed its first Superior, and over a period of twelve years, she opened three convents, two schools, two hostels, a study house, and an orphanage. She died in 1926, and many years later, her example would be followed by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mariam was declared Venerable in 1999, by which time the CHF had grown to one hundred seventy-six houses on three continents.
Discuss: What does your parish do to care for the poor?
Encourage the young people to find out more about India. Be sure to share with them the following: