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Nun’s elevation as saint marred by medical controversy

Mangalore Today News Network

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 18, 2019: The celebrations of the canonisation of Indian nun Mariam Thresia as a saint by Pope Francis in Vatican earlier this week have turned sour, with the Kerala unit of Indian Medical Association questioning the miracle cure of a boy by her, which entitled the sister to sainthood.

A person is canonised as a saint if her or she is proved to have performed a miracle. The act so attributed has to be ratified by a high-level committee of the Vatican. In Mariam Thresia’s case, it is claimed that she saved the life of a baby born prematurely in Amala Hospital in Kerala’s Thrissur town in the year 2009, Yahoo reported.


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The baby, named Christopher Jolly, was also present in Vatican to witness Mariam Thresia’s canonisation.  Congregation officials said his parents took the baby to her tomb for several days and prayed. Later, one of the doctors who treated the baby testified the miracle saying “divine intervention of the Holy Mother saved the baby.”

Several doctors have questioned the action of their colleague and asserted that illnesses are cured with proper medical treatment. The state unit of IMA discussed the issue at a special meeting and has asked its ethics committee to “conduct an inquiry into the incident and find out whether there is an ethical violation or not” in the certification of the miracle. The committee has been asked to seek an explanation from Dr Srinivasan, a neonatologist at the Amala Hospital, who certified the miracle, on his conduct.

“We are not against any belief and we respect all. I do pray before I enter the operation theatre. But what we oppose is the stamp of approval for a miracle. If somebody says prayers fully cured one it is difficult to comprehend for the medical community,” Dr N Sulphi, secretary of the Kerala unit, said.

Mariam Thresia, a native of Thrissur district died in 1926 at the age of 50. She was the founder and the first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family. Three others from Kerala, namely, St Alphonsa, St Kuriakose Elias Chavara and St Euprasia have been proclaimed saints before her.

The canonisation, the highest recognition of the sanctity of an icon in the Catholic church, was performed at a grand ceremony in the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square, and  attended by a  delegation of high-profile Keralites, including Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Congress leader TN Prathapan and former Supreme Court Judge Kurian Joseph. About 300 sisters from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family also attended the event.

The Syro-Malabar church organised countrywide celebrations of the event, including one at the canonised nun’s native place.

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