Sister Rani blessed by Vatican: Who was the nun stabbed to death in 1995?

On February 25, 1995, Sister Rani was stabbed more than 50 times on a bus in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2017 12:16 IST
Agencies, Bhopal/Indore
Sister Rani,Vatican,Church
Bishops attend a ceremony for beatification of Sr. Rani Maria in Indoor.(PTI Photo)

Kerala-born nun Rani Maria Vattali, who was stabbed to death in 1995 in Madhya Pradesh, was on Saturday declared ‘blessed’, a sacred title in the Roman Catholic church order.

The Vatican’s head of the Department for Cause of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, declared Vattali ‘blessed’, a step below sainthood.

Cardinal Amato read out Apostolic (Pope’s) letter declaring her ‘Blessed’ in Latin at a Holy Mass at Saint Paul Higher Secondary School’s ground in Indore.

“The Blessed title is considered a prelude to beatification of sainthood as was the case with Mother Teresa,” the Public Relations officer of Madhya Pradesh Catholic Church, Father Maria Stephen told PTI.

Cardinal Angelo Amato of Vatican City (centre) arrives to preside over a ceremony for beatification of Sr. Rani Maria in Indoor. (PTI Photo)

On February 25, 1995, Sister Rani was stabbed more than 50 times on a bus in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district. The nun, then 41, was a member of the Syro-Malabar Franciscan Clarist Congregation.

Her attacker Samunder Singh was hired to kill the nun as some landlords in Indore were upset with her work on uplift of landless people, he said.

Singh was sentenced to life in prison by a court. His sentence was later commuted due to his good conduct in prison and he was pardoned by the nun’s family, said Stephen.

Singh, who also attended the ceremony, recalled his actions, saying: “At that time, I was in the grip of evil spirits because of which I did that job (killed the nun),” he said.

Singh, released from jail in 2006, said, “My life has changed. Now everyone in this world is part of my family. Sister Selmi (sister of the slain nun) and her relatives too are my family and their affection and love has totally changed my life.”

Nuns attend a ceremony for beatification of Sister Rani Maria in Indoor. (PTI Photo)
The ceremony for beatification of Sister Rani Maria. (PTI Photo)

Sister Rani was born to Paili and Elisha on January 29, 1954, at Pulluvazhi in Kerala. She took her first vows in 1974 and was then assigned to Bijnor for mission Apostolate. After serving in Bijnor, she was transferred to Satna and later in 1992 to Udainagar, the MP Catholic Church said in a statement.

She was a champion for the poor and the marginalised, it said.

The nun began organising people who were exploited by moneylenders. Her self-help groups helped the poor and the downtrodden to break away from the clutches of the established money lending community, the release said.

She was threatened several times but she was not to be tied down and her initiatives won the hearts of poor tribals, the release said.

The process for Sister Rani’s canonisation began when The Vatican gave its nod in 2003. She was declared a ‘Servant of God’ in 2005 and in March this year, the orders came for her beatification.

From Sunday, she will be known as Blessed Sister Maria.

First Published: Nov 05, 2017 10:57 IST