03/24/2017, 13.15
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Card. Alencherry: The beatification of Sister Rani Maria is a blessing for the Church in India

The nun was killed in 1995 with 54 stab wounds. Her assassin  is a radical Hindu fomented by village leaders, who wanted to stop her missionary activity in favor of the tribal poor. Today he repented because of the love of the Franciscan family, who forgave and accepted him. Sister Rani is a "martyr".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "The upcoming beatification of Sister Rani Maria is a blessing for the Church in India", notes Card. George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, commenting on the news that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has completed the verification process, and given the "nihil obstat" for the beatification of the Franciscan nun. The cardinal added that "Pope Francis’ decision to declare Sister Rani Blessed is a moment of great joy for the whole Church in India."

The news was circulated in recent days and was confirmed yesterday.Fr.  Jimmy Poochakkatt, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Church, reports that the pope "has signed the recommendation of the College of Cardinals", while the date of the ceremony will be announced later. An official statement of the Church adds that after the beatification of Sister Rani Maria will be called "martyr".

On 25 February 1995 the Franciscan Poor Clare was killed at age 41 with 54 stab wounds by a Hindu radical, fomented by village leaders who wanted to stop her missionary activity in favor of the tribal poor. Born in Kerala, the young nun had moved in the diocese of Indore (Madhya Pradesh) to work at the service of the local poor population, mostly tribal. The missionary dedicated her life in favor of the villagers, obtaining bank credit lines and tax breaks for the cultivation of land. She created support groups for women and also helped in the most strenuous jobs, such as building a well for clean water to drink and irrigate their fields.

Her social work became  "inconvenient" for the Hindu village heads, who previously held the tribals in check by granting loans. If the farmers were not able to compensate them, they took possession of the crop and soil. The "official" credit obtained by Sister Rani Maria were an obstacle to businesses of Hindu leaders, who decided to foment and arming a poor Hindu, Samunder. He, sure of their support, murdered the nun in front of dozens of witnesses, while she was on a shuttle bus to her original home.

Immediately after the murder, however, the assassin  was abandoned by family and by those who had used it to eliminate the nun. The only one who has remained close was an Indian priest, Swamy Sadanand, who put him in contact with religious sister’s family. Speaking to AsiaNews sister Selmy Paul, the sister of martyr, told the story of her family and how the mercy of God has acted on her and her siblings to help seek a pardon for the murderer. Among those who immediately unconditionally welcomed the Hindu tribal poor was the missionary’s mother, who responded to the request to meet him with the words: "I would kiss his hands, and because they have the blood of my daughter."

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