(News from “The Times of India:)INDORE: “Blessed Rani Maria, pray for us,” proclaimed Vatican ambassador Cardinal Angelo Amato on Saturday. And 15,000 Christians repeated the words after him at a local school in Indore, marking the beatification of Sister Rani Maria Vattalil as a martyr.
In the audience, was seated her killer Samandar Singh. Next to him sat the Blessed Maria’s sister, Sr Selmi. “I cannot undo what happened. That was also God’s call. This, too, is God’s call. She was a saint, and now she’ll be declared one too,” said Samandar who had stabbed her viciously 22 years ago. He was sentenced to life but was released in 2002 after Sister Selmi visited him in jail and asked that he be pardoned.
Beatification is one step away from Canonisation, and Sister Maria is the first nun from north India to be Beatified and the seventh Indian to be beatified after Sister Alphonsa, Fr Kuriakose Chavara, Mother Euphrasia, Fr Joseph Vaz, Fr Gonsalo Garcia and Mother Teresa. The ceremony was held St. Paul’s HS School in the presence of Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for Cause of Saints (Vatican), and 45 bishops and five cardinals from India.
Just before Gloria (singing praises of God), Cardinal Amato read out the apostolic letter in Latin, announcing Pope Francis’s declaration that Sr Rani Maria be called Blessed and her feast may be celebrated every year on February 25 — the day she was martyred in 1995. The Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops arrived in the form of a procession.
Right after the announcement, a relic and a large portrait of Sister Maria were brought to the altar by the family members, representatives from the church in Kerala and representatives of Sr Rani Maria’s Franciscan Clarist Congregation. Cardinal Angelo Amato said, “She’s not just an inspiration to Udainagar church but to Catholics across the globe. Her sacrifice has become a beacon of light for missionaries. “