KOCHI: Sr Rani Maria, a Malayali missionary nun who was stabbed to death in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, 22 years ago, has been cleared for beatification by the Vatican.
“Pope Francis has approved the report of the ‘Congregation for the Causes of Saints’ for promulgating the decree of Sr Rani Maria’s martyrdom,” said a statement from the Syro-Malabar Church.
Once the beatification is declared officially, the nun will be known as Blessed Sr Rani Maria.
Beatification is the penultimate stage of the four-phased canonisation procedure followed in the Catholic Church.Sr Rani Maria’s cause of canonisation began in 2003, and she was declared a ‘Servant of God’ four years later. Sr Rani Maria, a native of Pulluvazhi near Perumbavoor, was a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.
She was murdered by landlords who were against missionary activities by nuns, while working among the poor and landless agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh. She was buried at Udaingar in the Dewas district, where she was serving. Sr Rani Maria was born on January 29, 1954, as the second of seven children of Paily and Eliswa Vattalil. She joined the Franciscan Clarist Convent at Kidangoor near Palai in 1972. She began her North Indian mission in Bijnor in 1975, and moved to Udainagar in 1992.
Sr Rani Maria hit headlines when her family members pardoned and accepted Samandar Singh, the murderer, as a member of the family. Her younger sister Selmy Paul, a member of the same congregation, accepted Singh as her brother by tying ‘rakhi’.
The family’s gesture prompted Singh to regret his action. He visited the nun’s house to meet the other family members, after serving life sentence for the crime.
“It is a blessed moment for the Catholic Church in India. The decision of Pope Francis to beatify Sr Rani Maria brings joy to all Catholics in India,” said Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church.