Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born on 10th February, 1805 at Kainakary. He was ordained a priest in 1829 at the age of twenty four. In 1831, with the help and support of Rev. Fr. Thomas Palakkan Malpan and Rev. Thomas Poroorkara Malpan, he founded the first indigenous religious congregation for men in India, viz. Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). For a long period spanning 32 years, he devoted himself to the service of mankind in various fields such as liturgy, education, culture, etc.
Devotion to Infant Jesus is one of the many ways of honouring Christ’s incarnation. It is to marvel at His having humbled Himself by taking on human nature, even subjecting Himself to the earthly authority of Mary and Joseph. The devotion to the Holy Child Jesus has long been a tradition of the Catholic Church. This devotion is a veneration of our Lord’s sacred Infancy. Many saints had very strong devotion to the Divine Child, notably St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Teresa of Avila. The very qualities of child-like simplicity, trust, humility and dependency that characterize children need to be contemplated, accepted and eventually adopted in our own lives as we live and struggle in a world of challenges and contradictions. We humbly ask the Holy Infant to teach us to surrender all things to His will.
Theresa was born on 2nd January, 1873 as the youngest of the five daughters of Louis Martin, a rich textile merchant. Although they lost their mother when Theresa was only four years old, all the five sisters, overcoming the temptations of a rich lifestyle, became nuns. Theresa was particularly conspicuous for her virtues. Her child-like simplicity, utter humility, constant self-sacrifice and a boundless love for God and trust in Him were some of the most outstanding virtues.
The Sacred Heart (also known as Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) is one of the most famous religious devotions to Jesus’ physical heart as the representation of His divine love for Humanity. The devotion especially emphasizes the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the heart of Christ. This devotion acquired its present day vividness and importance in the 17th century, soon after the revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque of Parlemonia.
St. Alphonsa, the first native woman saint of India, who lived as an unknown simple Clarist nunwithin the four walls of the Franciscan Clarist convent at Bharananganam, in Kerala, is nowknown all over the world. Her extraordinary power of intercession before her beloved SpouseLord Jesus Christ, made her dear to everyone.Alphonsa, born on 19th August, 1910 as the fourth child of Joseph Muttathupadath and MaryPuthukkari, belonged to the parish of Kudamaloor. A chronic victim of physical suffering,constrained to live under the rigorous discipline of a community life, her life was dominated byan impulsive desire to practice the severest austerities and mortifications.
St. Anthony is popularly known as a wonder worker and venerated all over the world as the Patron Saint for lost articles. He is depicted as a person carrying Child Jesus close to his heart and conversing with him. Anthony (originally Ferdinand) was born in 1195 in Lisbon as the son of Martin de Bullone, an army officer, and Mary of Tavera. At a very young age, he was placed in the community of the canons of the Cathedral of Lisbon. Right from the beginning, he was burning with a desire to become a martyr. He joined the Franciscan order in 1221 and took the name Anthony. His desire to become a martyr did not materialize as he was down with the fever on his way to Africa and was forced to abandon the voyage and had to disembark in Italy where he met his master, St. Francis of Assisi. Inspired by his master, he went about preaching the word of God.
St. Joseph was the early guardian of our Lady and the foster father of the incarnate word. All that is reliably known of this ‘just man’ (Mt 1:19) is contained in the 1st and 2nd chapters of the Gospel of St. Mathew and St. Luke. From the fact that St. Joseph is not again mentioned in the Bible after finding boy Jesus in the temple, it has been reasonably inferred that he did not live to see the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him the patron saint of the universal Church and on 8th December, 1870 at the petition of over 300 prelates to the Holy Father in the first Vatican Council (1869 1870).
Mary is the mother of God and the divine maternity is the pinnacle of her greatness, the culminating point to which all the privileges of our mother converge and from which they radiate. Pope Pius IX defined the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception as an article of faith and we celebrate this feast on 8th December. The dogma on the Assumption of Our Lady was officially declared by Pope Pius XII, in 1950 the feast of which is celebrated on 15th August.
St. Sebastian was a Roman martyr and little more than the fact of his martyrdom can be proved. In the “Depositiomartyrum” of the Chronologer of 354, it is mentioned that Sebastian was buried on the Via Appia in Rome. St. Ambrose states that Sebastian came from Milan and was venerated even there. Sebastian was an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith. When he was finally discovered to be a Christian in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene.
Thomas, surnamed ‘Didymus’ (the twin) was a simple fisherman in Galilee who was called by Jesus to become one of his twelve apostles. A glimpse of Thomas’ great love for his master is shown to us at the time when he was ready to accompany Jesus to the house of Lazarus, saying, ‘we shall also and die with him”. He has come to be called the “Doubting Thomas from his refusal to believe that the Lord had appeared to the other apostles. More than this doubt, Thomas was expressing his disappointment at not being present at the Lord’s apparition. The Lord did take note of this and rewarded Thomas with another apparition where he uttered that timeless act of faith: ‘My Lord and My God’.