June 8: The feast of *St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel*
Today, June 8, we celebrate the feast day of *St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan* (1876-1926), foundress of the Congregation of the Holy Family, mystic, and visionary.
Born Thresia, in Kerala, India, she learned to love Jesus from her virtuous mother Thanda. The mother used to tell her the stories of the Bible and some incidents from the lives of the saints. Thresia, as a child, turned to the Blessed Mother, praying the Rosary several times each day, and fasting in the likeness of suffering Christ. When Thresia was just twelve, her mother died, and she was forced to withdraw from elementary school. However, she spent hours praying in the community Church, cleaning and decorating the altar.
She devoted herself to helping the poor, sick, and lonely of the parish. Despite the family’s poverty, she together with three of her companions took in orphaned children, taking extra work to pay for their care. They formed a life of prayer and service, and placed their trust in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Around this time, Thresia began experiencing visions of the Holy Family, which guided her work. She experienced frequent ecstasies and levitations. She also bore the stigmata, which she kept secret from all, not wishing further attention.
In 1913, Mariam Thresia was permitted to build a prayer house, that she and her companions moved into. They led a life of prayer and austere penance like hermits but continued to visit the sick and the needy. The new religious order was consecrated the Congregation of the Holy Family (C.H.F.) and Mariam Thresia was appointed its first Superior.
Today, the Congregation of the Holy Family has 1584 professed sisters, serving in Kerala, in the mission areas of North India, in Germany, Italy, and Ghana, with a total of 176 houses in 7 provinces and 119 novices.
Mother Mariam Thresia died in 1926, at the age of 50. Numerous miracles of healing followed her death, and she was beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II and canonised in 2019 by Pope Francis.
*St. Mariam Thresia, pray for us.*