By Vatican News
Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan was born in 1876 in Kerala, India, and named after Saint Teresa of Avila. She spent her entire life assisting the poor, the sick, the elderly and all those in need.
A childhood of charity
Thresia’s Mother was the greatest influence in her childhood, reading her stories from the Bible and the lives of the Saints, and teaching her how to pray. When Thresia was 10 years old, she made a private vow of virginity and decided to consecrate her life to Christ. At the same time, she attended to the sick and the poor, nursing lepers and caring for orphaned children.
Thresia had a series of mystical experiences, including the gift of healing and prophesy. She bore the stigmata in secret and passed through her own “dark night of the soul”. At first, she joined the Franciscan Poor Clares, then the Discalced Carmelites of Ollur. In the end she decided that what she really needed was to lead a life that was withdrawn and in silent union with God.
The "House of Solitude”
In 1913 she created her first small community with two friends. It was to become the nucleus of the Congregation of the Holy Family. During the 12 years in which Mother Mariam was at the head of the Congregation, despite the difficulties associated with the outbreak of the First World War, the Congregation flourished with new convents, schools, boarding schools and orphanages.
Mother Mariam Thresia died on 8 June 1926 and was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on 9 April 2000.