A "Tabernacle in Motion" Is Beatified in India. Sister Euphrasia (1877-1952)
OLLUR, India, DEC. 4, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Newly beatified Sister Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal was described as a "tabernacle in motion," a religious in continual prayer.
Sister Euphrasia, a professed religious of the Congregation of Sisters of the Mother of Carmel, was beatified on the First Sunday of Advent in Ollur, in the Archdiocese of Trichur.
She was born Rosa Eluvethingal, in 1877 in the Diocese of Trichur, in Edathurhty.
A member of the Eastern Church of the Syro-Malabar rite, she was superior general of the Carmelite Sisters of Koonammavu, and received charismatic gifts.
She is remembered in India for her dedication to others during the outbreak of a cholera epidemic.
She died in 1952 in the Carmelite convent of Ollur, where she had spent 48 of her 52 years of life as a religious. She was proclaimed a Servant of God in 1987 and venerable in 2002.
This year Benedict XVI promulgated the document recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Indian religious, and event that opened the doors to her beatification. The miracle involved the total disappearance in 1997 of a sarcoma on the pelvic bone of 55-year-old Tharakan Thomas.
The solemn beatification ceremony in Ollur was presided over by Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, archbishop major of Ernakulam-Angamaly, who read the decree with which Benedict XVI inscribed the Indian religious in the catalogue of the beatified.
Concelebrating were the apostolic nuncio in India, Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, and Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Thrissur, as well as 31 archbishops and bishops, and about 150 priests.
More than 1,000 women religious took part in the ceremony, reported the Indian bishops' SAR news agency.
Father Giorgio Nedungatt, the postulator of Sister Euphrasia's cause of beatification, described her on Vatican Radio as "a great mystic who was completely dedicated to Jesus, her Spouse, King and God."
"Jesus accepted her in a relationship of mystical and spousal union, making her participate in his sufferings of the passion, but also in the joy of the resurrection, so much so that she transmitted an atmosphere of peace," Father Nedungatt said. "She always had an attractive and heavenly smile."
Sister Euphrasia "spent much time, almost all her free time, before the tabernacle in adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and, outside the chapel, people saw a religious who was always praying the rosary," the postulator added.
Her sister religious called her a "tabernacle in motion"; other people simply called her the "praying Mother," added Father Nedungatt.
Sister Euphrasia was a religious who "was able to pray, to climb the heights of the mystical life, but at the same time she took people to the treasure of her heart," he specified.
Her message to "today's world, in danger of being dispersed among many attractions and distractions, is of having her gaze oriented to heaven, where our real treasure is, as Jesus said," the priest added. Hers was a "life of faith, a life of charity concentrated on the Eucharist," he said.
Father Nedungatt recalled that the Pope gave a monstrance to the Convent of St. Mary in Ollur, where Euphrasia spent all her life in prayer, "and this monstrance was shown to all the people during the beatification ceremony, with the message that it is an invitation to all to adore Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament."
"The Eucharist that we celebrate in the Mass is the Bread of Life that we later receive under the sacramental species," the priest concluded. "The Eucharist is a Person that we find in faith, that we receive in the heart, who stays with us as a companion, as a friend. This is the message that the Pope wishes to communicate with this gesture of generosity, with the gift of the monstrance."