IDUKKI: Brother Fortunatus Thanheuser of Germany, who was in the forefront of helping the poor in Kattapana over four decades back, was put on the path to sainthood on Saturday.
Brother Thanheuser was declared a Servant of God, the first step in the four-phased canonisation process, at a solemn Mass presided over by Bishop Mathew Arackal of Kanjirapally at St. George Forane Church, Kattappana.
Brother’s canonisation process began nine years after the member of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God died in Kattappana at the age of 87 on November 21, 2005.
‘Patriarch of the Destitute’
Popularly known as “patriarch of the destitute,” he did commendable things on social, religious and charitable activities in Kattapana. Bishop Arackal also led a procession to the saintly missionary’s tomb in the cemetery of “Pratheeksha Bhawan” ,a home for the aged and destitute started by him in early 1970s.
Fortunatus reached India in 1969 to improve the healthcare and educational facilities in the High Range area. He set up St John’s Hospital in 1971, Pratheeksha Bhavan, several social and charitable projects, Sisters of Charity of St. John of God, religious congregation for women. Born as Bernard on February 27, 1918, in Berlin, Germany, he became Brother Fortunathus after entering the Hospitallar order at the age of 18.
In 1968, he became the vice chairman of he ‘Union of Major Superiors of the Religious Institute of Brothers in Germany.’