The Vatican has designated murdered Kerala-born Roman Catholic nun Rani Maria with the title of ‘Blessed’ on Sunday, Vatican News reported. She was murdered in Madhya Pradesh in 1995.

The Vatican’s chief of the Department for Cause of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato [pictured above] made the announcement on Saturday, giving her a title just below sainthood, at a Holy Mass held at Saint Paul Higher Secondary School’s ground in Indore. Her murderer, Samandar Singh, was among those present at the ceremony.

“The Blessed title is considered a prelude to beatification of sainthood as was the case with Mother Teresa,” public relations officer of the Madhya Pradesh Catholic Church Maria Stephen said. “But for canonisation of sainthood, a miracle is required.”

On February 25, 1995, Singh stabbed Sister Rani more than 50 times on a bus in Madhya Pradesh. She was 41 at the time of her death. Singh was hired by some landlords in Indore. He was sentenced to life in prison, but it was later commuted owing to his good conduct. The nun’s family also pardoned him, Stephen said.