Memorial of St Alphonsa Muttathupadathu

St. Alphons was born in Kudamalur, in the diocese of Changanacherry, India, on the 19th of August 1910 the last of five children. Her mother, Maria, gave birth to her prematurely in her eight month of pregnancy, as a result of a fright she received when, during her sleep, a snake wrapped itself around her waist. A few days later, on the 28th of August, she was baptized and received the name Annakutty, meaning small Anna.

Suffering and sadness was hers for her childhood. Her mother died three months later. As a baby Annakutty was first taken in by her grandparents. Her grand-mother, a pious and charitable woman transmitted the faith and the love for prayer to little Anna.

Annakutty received her first Holy Communion on the 11 of November 1917. This day was so etched in her memory that writing to her spiritual father, many years later she said, “Already from the age of seven I was no longer mine. I was totally dedicated to my divine Spouse. Your reverence knows it well”.

In the same year at the age of seven, she began to attend elementary school where she also established a sincere friendship with her Hindu friends. Anna then went to live with her aunt Anna Murickal, to whom her mother, before she died, had entrusted her as her adoptive mother. Her aunt was a demanding woman and at times even violent. She demanded obedience from Annakutty in everything she did.

Anna had grown to love the Carmelite nuns who lived in the Monastery close by, a love not entirely shared by her aunt. It was here she would spend long hours of prayer at the altar. Seeing this her aunt was determined to get her married and end this desire to be a religious nun. In order to prevent her aunt from getting her married she deliberately placed her food in a heap of burning embers. In her own words she says, “My marriage was arranged when I was thirteen years old. What had I to do to avoid it? I prayed all that night… then an idea came to me. If my body were a little disfigured no one would want me! … O, how I suffered! I offered all for my great intention”.

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