Pope Francis on Sunday declared Kerala-born Catholic nun Mariam Thresia and four others saints during a canonisation ceremony held at the Vatican City in Rome, PTI reported. Thresia, whose canonisation was approved on July 1, is the fourth person from Kerala to be elevated to sainthood.

The nun, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, belonged to the Syro-Malabar Church. She was born in the village of Puthenchira in Thrissur district on April 26, 1876, and died in Kuzhikkattussery village on June 8, 1926.

Thresia was canonised during a Mass along with others, including theologian John Henry Newman from England, Swiss mystic Marguerite Bays, Italian nun Giuseppina Vannini, and Brazilian nun Irma Dulce Pontes.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan led the Indian delegation at the function at St Peter’s Basilica. The ceremony was attended by tens of thousands of devotees, and included a Latin hymn along with a recommendation by a representative of the Congregation for the Saints.

Thresia gave herself up to penance, fasting and prayers, when she was eight. She was declared venerable on June 28, 1999, and beatified on April 9, 2000.

“In imitation of Jesus, she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her parish,” said the Vatican News. “She was also blessed with the stigmata but kept it secret to avoid attention. She received several mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, an aura of light, sweet odour and frequently had ecstasies and levitations. Her entire existence was tormented by demons and she offered her sufferings for the remission of the sins of the world.”

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