The New Indian Express reports that a statement of the Syro-Malabar Church confirmed that Pope Francis has approved the report for promulgating the decree of Sr Rani Maria’s martyrdom.
Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Head of the Syro-Malabar Church.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.
The process of her canonisation began in 2003, and she was declared a ‘Servant of God’ four years later.
The nun will be known as Blessed Sr Rani Maria once the beatification is declared official. She is a native of Pulluvazhi near Perumbavoor.
She was murdered by landlords who were against missionary activities by nuns, while working among the poor and landless agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh in 1995.
In 2014, Samandhar Singh, the man who served a prison term for the murder of Sr Rani Maria Vattalil had said that the forgiveness shown to him by the nun’s family had given him a new lease of life.
In 2002, Sr Selmy – the younger sister of Sr Rani Maria – visited the culprit while he was in prison and accepted him as her brother by tying a Rakhi.
Sr Rani Maria was born on 29 January 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.
Beatification is the penultimate stage of the four-phased canonisation procedure followed in the Catholic Church. Another Syro-Malabar Catholic Franciscan nun, Saint Alphonsa from Kerala, was the first saint of Indian origin to be canonised in 2008.
( The story first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)