Shaji Joseph and his wife Lissy rushed to the tomb of Sister Alphonsa in Kottayam the moment they heard the news of her canonization on October 12.
Their son Ginil, who was born congenitally deformed, had been cured after Joseph put the boy on the tomb of Sister Alphonsa in Bharananganam and the family prayed for hours. That same night in 1999, Ginil began to walk — a miracle which was approved by the Vatican.
<b1>“We are happy that we played a key role in the process of sainthood for Sister Alphonsa. We are indebted to the venerable saint for all our happiness,” mother Lissy, an employee with the cooperative bank, said. Her son, who is 10 years old now, can walk like any other child.
The Catholic Church, which traces its origins to the visit of St. Thomas around 2,000 years ago, was jubilant. Devotees burst crackers and held mass to welcome the announcement.Sister Alphonsa would be the second saint from India after Gonsalo Garcia. She would be the first woman to attain sainthood. Garcia, who was canonised in 1862, was part Indian. His father was Portuguese.
Joseph and Lissy now face a new problem. Many believers have begun quizzing them about their prayers. “Since the canonisation is scheduled in October, people from various parts of the state, many of them physically challenged, started making a beeline to the church. Some of them insist that we should reveal the details of our prayer,” said Joseph, an employee with the sales tax department.
He wants to go to the Vatican to witness the canonization ceremony. “If I get a chance I’ll take the entire family to the Vatican. Ginil is really interested,” Joseph said. Even the doctors who treated Ginil believe a miracle did happen.
“He was born in my nursing home. Crippled badly, his condition worsened each passing day. I couldn’t believe when he came fully cured,” said Doctor Annamma Cora.