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One of the significant things about the Catholic faith is our appreciation for Saints. Most of us have our favourite Saints whom we turn to for intercession or inspiration. Here is one of those women whom all the women and man can be proud of! One such marvellous person was Mother Annammal, the Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne of Trichirapalli. She has been declared as ‘Servant of God’ by Vatican which will lead to her Beatification and Canonization who showed the incredible power of a human being to overcome the effects of inhuman suffering and came out radiant, serene and God-centered. Her love for the poor and the socially deprived people had no equals which was our foundress’ uniqueness.
In the long history of the Catholic Church in India it is a rare occurrence that religions Congregation was started by a widow for widows this was our foundress Mother Annammal who has been declared ‘Servant of God’. It was decided to celebrate the historical event on 22nd April 2017 in a meaningful way. The day dawned with a ray of joy which move the hearts of our Sisters to a renewal of our spiritual life to the realm of human inner life. It was indeed a day of joy that the local church of Trichy was extremely happy and delighted to host that event. It was a much awaited ceremony by all of us. All the Sisters flocked to our mother house in Melapudur campus in Trichy. After a delicious breakfast we gathered at 8.45 a.m in front of St. Anne’s Dispensary House. Our former Superior General Mother Willigise hoisted the Congregation flag and our Superior General Mother Reginal professed the oath followed by Congregation anthem.
It is the mystery of the corner stone that was discarded but has become the foundation of our existence. Sticking to the path of integrity and compassion, Mother Foundress showed the essentials of being human which we want to highlight. To show her unadorned, unpretentious, unadulterated goodness a monument (museum) has been erected. The plaque was opened by Rev. Mother Reginal, Superior General and Rev. Sr. Xavier Maria Thangam, former General cut the ribbon of the entrance of the Museum. The Sisters of St. Anne have been spiritually nurtured by the Religious of Society of Jesus. It is a fitting gesture that Rev. Fr. John Britto S.J the Rector of St. Joseph’s College, Trichirapalli blessed the museum which was witnessed by all our Sisters. All our sisters visited the museum and paid homage and felt that our Foundress’ faith in the Lord was steadfast even in the midst of tempest. Our foundress’ life, her vocation, her mission and her response to God and mankind is characterized her ‘Fiat’ (Yes Lord) which are depicted well in the museum.
The Opening Ceremony of the cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Annammal Selvanayagam commenced at 5 p.m. under the Presidentship of the Most Rev. Antony Devotta, Bishop of Trichy. His Grace Most Rev. George Antonysamy the Arch Bishop of Chennai-Mylapore, and the Bishop of Trichy Rev. Fathers, the Superior General, Rev. Sr. Edwige the Postulator came to the Stage in procession. Sr. Arul Anita the General Secretary gave the introduction. Sr. Edwige, the Postulator readout the introduction of the event beatification and sainthood of the Servant of God. It was continued by the oath taking of the members of the diocesan Inquiry committee, the Most Rev. Antony Devotta, the local Bishop of Trichy, Rev. Fr. Devaraj the Representative of the Bishop of Trichy Rev. Fr. Benjamin Raj the expert in canon law Sr. Mariammal, the notary, Sr. Sahaya Tamilarasi, Sr. Queensly the Vice – Notaries, Sr. Edwige the Postulator, Sr. Selvarani, the Vice–Postulator and the members of the historical committee Rev. Fr. Joe Arun S.J., Sr. Maria Alphonsal, Sr. Michalammal, Sr. Mary Jacqulin, Sr. Maria Antony declared the oath that they will carry out their work to the best of their ability and maintain secrecy in the related work. Then commenced the Eucharistic Celebration with His Grace, the Most Rev. George Antonysamy, the Arch Bishop of Chennai – Mylapore, as the chief celebrant. To represent the 47 years of the life of the Servant of God, forty seven lamps were lit and in the offertory reflecting 159 years of service of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anne, Trichy forty seven sisters offered 159 set of dresses to be distributed to the deserving.
By the sound and light video progamme of the life of Mother Annammal, the Servant of God was screened. Then the book “The Roots and Fruits of St. Anne’s Mission Trichy” written by Sr. Maria Alphonsal and the translation work “Mother Annammal” translated in Tami by Rev. Fr. Domnic Savio (Thanjai Domi), the Chief Writer of Namvahvu, a Catholic weekly released then followed the cultural events of the differently-abled children of our special schools Vidivelli special school children performed skating wonderfully. The physically disabled children of Irungalore sang a song on the Servant of God. The celebration came to a close with a song to Mother Annammal. All who attended the function had their supper and disbursed joyfully.