Saint Alphonsa of India

[photograph of Saint Alphonsa of India]
Also known as

  • Alphonsa Muttathupadathu
  • Alphonsa of Bharananganam
  • Anna Muttathupadathu
  • Annakutty

Memorial

Profile

Born in a rural area to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. Baptized on 27 August 1910. Her mother died when Anna was very young, and she was raised by her maternal aunt, and educated by her great-uncle Father Joseph Muttathupadathu. At age 3 she contracted an infected eczema from which she suffered for over a year. Made her first Communion on 27 November 1917. Badly burned on her feet when she accidentally fell into a pit of burning chaff, leaving her permanently partially disabled. Joined the Poor Clare convent at Bharananganam on 2 August 1928, taking the name Alphonsa, and making her vows on 12 August 1936.

She lost her aunt/foster-mother in 1930. Worked as a primary school taught, and the children loved her for her gentleness and cheery way, but health problems often kept her from the classroom. In December 1936 she was miraculously cured from her ailments through the intervention of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. However, in June 1939 she was struck by a severe attack of pneumonia, weakening her overall. On 18 October 1940 a thief stumbled into her room in the middle of the night; the shock of the event caused Alphonsa to suffer a loss of memory, and further weakened her. Her condition continued deteriorated for months, and she was given last rites on 29 September 1941; the next day, she regained her memory, though not complete health. She enjoyed some improvement over the next few years, but in July 1945 she developed a stomach problem that eventually led to her death.

She was noted for her suffering, and suffering in silence. Incidents of her intervention began almost immediately upon her death, and often involved the children in the convent school. Hundreds of miraculous cures are claimed for her intervention, many of involving straightening of clubbed-feet, possibly because of her having lived with deformed feet herself; two of these were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as proof of her miraculous intervention. The continuing cures are chronicled in the magazine PassionFlower. Thousands converge on the small town of Bharananganam when they celebrate the feast of Saint Alphonsa from 19 to 28 July each year.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Canonized

Name Meaning

  • noble ready; battle ready

Patronage

Additional Information

Readings

Grains of wheat, when ground in the mill, turn in to flour. With this flour we make the wafer of the holy Eucharist. Grapes, when crushed in the wine press, yield their juice. This juice turns into wine. Similarly, suffering so crushes us that we turn into better human beings. -Saint Alphonsa to novices

She did not want her sufferings to be reduced in the least by human attention and sympathy, nor did she want others of know of her suffering. This is a strange expression of humility, which seeks that others should never think of you. -Cardinal Gracias

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Alphonsa of India”. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 August 2010. Web. 22 August 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-alphonsa-of-india/>