India will get its first woman saint

The Catholic Church in India will have its first woman saint on October 12 when Pope Benedict XVI canonises Sister Alphonsa of Kottayam, Kerala, 62 years after she died. The sainthood will be announced at a ceremony at the Vatican for which preparations are on in full swing.The mortal remains of the Catholic nun were taken to the Vatican in two small packages by the mother general of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, to which Sister Alphonsa belonged. At the event, one of the two packages will be handed over to the Pope, who will place it in a separate enclosure in St Peter’s Basilica where the remains of holy Catholics are preserved. The second one will be kept in the court which bears her name as a saint. A portrait of the nun, which will be unveiled by the Pope at the ceremony, has also been taken to the Vatican. About 10,000 Christians from Kerala are expected to witness the canonisation.

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