St. Alphonsa: The First Indian Woman Christian Saint

28 Jul 2020  Tue

Saint Alphonsa was an Indian religious sister and educator. She was the first woman of Indian origin to be canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She became the first canonized saint of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church based in India. Her feast day is observed on July 28th.

Born on 19 August to Joseph and Mary in Syro Malabar Nasrani family, she was affectionately called Annakutty. Baptized on 27th August Anna was raised by her maternal aunt, as her mother died when she was very young. In 1916 Anna started her schooling in Arpookara. She received First Communion on 27 November 1917. In 1918 she was transferred to the school in Muttuchira.

St. Alphonsa had a life span of only 36 years and she died on 28th July 1946. She was buried at St. Her tomb at St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Bharananganam, has become a pilgrimage site as miracles have been reported by some of the faithful.

Reserve Bank of India has issued a 5 Rupees Commemorative Coin, in 2009 marking the birth centenary of Saint Alphonsa. Besides this, to honor her India Postal Department has issued 100 Paise commemorative postage stamp in 1996.

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