Alphonsamma Also known as
Alphonsa of Bharananganam
19 August 1910 at Kudamalloor, Kerala, India
28 July 1946 at Bharananganam, India, of natural causes buried in the chapel connected with the cemetery of Saint Mary’s church, Bharananganam, India, which has become an important place of pilgrimage
declared Servant of God, and her Cause began on 2 December 1953 declared Venerable on
9 July 1985 by Pope John Paul II
8 February 1986 by Pope John Paul II
Sunday 12 October 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI
Born in a rural area to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. Baptized on 27 August 1910. Her mother died when Anna was very young, and Alphonsamma was raised by her maternal aunt, and educated by her great-uncle Father Joseph Muttathupadathu. At age 3 she contracted an infected eczema from which she suffered for over a year. Made her first Communion on 27 November 1917. Badly burned on her feet when she accidentally fell into a pit of burning chaff, leaving Alphonsamma permanently partially disabled. Joined the Poor Clare convent at Bharananganam on 2 August 1928, taking the name Alphonsa, and making her vows on 12 August 1936.
Alphonsamma lost her aunt/foster-mother in 1930. Worked as a primary school taught, and the children loved her for her gentleness and cheery way, but health problems often kept her from the classroom. In December 1936 she was miraculously cured from her ailments through the intervention of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara. However, in June 1939 she was struck by a severe attack of pneumonia, weakening her overall. On 18 October 1940 a thief stumbled into her room in the middle of the night; the shock of the event caused Alphonsa to suffer a loss of memory, and further weakened her. Her condition continued deteriorated for months, and Alphonsamma was given last rites on 29 September 1941; the next day, she regained her memory, though not complete health. Alphonsamma enjoyed some improvement over the next few years, but in July 1945 she developed a stomach problem that eventually led to her death.
Alphonsamma was noted for her suffering, and suffering in silence. Incidents of her intervention began almost immediately upon her death, and often involved the children in the convent school. Hundreds of miraculous cures are claimed for her intervention, many of involving straightening of clubbed-feet, possibly because of Alphonsamma having lived with deformed feet herself; two of these were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as proof of her miraculous intervention. The continuing cures are chronicled in the magazine Passion Flower. Thousands converge on the small town of Bharananganam when they celebrate the feast of Saint Alphonsamma from 19 to 28 July each year.