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Indian Catholic nun declared as venerable

The new tomb of Sister Maria Celina in the Chapel of the Mother House of Ursulines of Mary Immaculate congregation at Payyambalam, Kannur, Kerala, south India (Photo supplied)

On August 5, Pope Francis declared an Indian nun "venerable," marking the second stage of her sainthood.

A member of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate congregation, Sister Maria Celina Kannanaikal, was persecuted due to her "mystical experiences" during her novitiate.

The superiors of the novitiate recognized her "holiness" despite opposition from many, and she was admitted to her first profession on June 20, 1957, after a six-month extension of her stay in the novitiate.

Almost immediately after her profession, she became ill, but her illness was undiagnosed, and she died in 1957, just 35 days after her religious profession in Cannanore (now Kannur), a town in southern India.

Sister Kannanaikal was born on February 13, 1931, in the Trichur diocese of Kerala.

After teaching in two primary schools, she joined the congregation on June 24, 1954, and then entered the novitiate on December 26, 1954.

Her novitiate directress, Mother Stefania Murelli, helped her endure the suffering as a novice as she endured "extraordinary trials and tribulations."

In addition to being given visions, the future nun frequently encountered Jesus and the Little Flower and was asked to pray for sinners.

The records from the congregation indicate that she surrendered totally to God's will, fully depending upon Him and surrendering to His authority.

Her profession day was marked by Jesus appearing to her and telling her that God would soon take her to heaven with Him. On July 26, 1957, she was buried in the Cannanore cemetery.

It has been reported that her intercession and prayers have brought many favors.

On July 29, 2007, the cause for her beatification was launched. On February 29, 2012, her body was exhumed and reburied in a new tomb in the chapel of the Mother House at Payyambalam, a beach in Kannur.


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