A Pilgrimage to Kerala’s Sacred Shrines, India

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Embarking on a pilgrimage through the picturesque state of Kerala, India, we, the Redemptorist community of novices and Fathers at Kunnambetta, immersed ourselves in a profound spiritual odyssey. Setting off on a Sunday night by bus, our first destination was the Redemptorist community at Vadavathoor, Kottayam, where we were warmly welcomed. Our pilgrimage began at St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara Shrine in Mannanam, where we marvelled at the legacy of the saint who initiated the first indigenous Catholic religious congregation in India.

Next, we visited the shrine of Blessed Fr. Kunjachan Thevarparambil Augustine in Ramapuram, Kottayam district. Known as the “Good Shepherd of Kerala,” Blessed Fr. Kunjachan devoted his life to serving marginalized communities, leaving behind a legacy of love and selflessness.

Our journey then led us to the tomb of St. Alphonsa in Palai, the first female saint of India. Renowned for her humility and piety, St. Alphonsa’s life served as a beacon of hope for the suffering, inspiring all with her unwavering faith and dedication to others.

Continuing our pilgrimage, we visited the provincialate of Liguori province at Kalady, where we climbed Malayattoor Hill, steeped in history and spirituality. Reciting the Way of the Cross in different languages, we found spiritual enrichment in the footsteps of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

On the second day, we visited the tomb of St. Mariam Thresia, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, renowned for her holiness and mystical experiences. Our journey concluded with homage paid to St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal in Ollur, known for her life of humility and spiritual wisdom.

As evening approached, we found ourselves on Chirai Beach on the Arabian Sea coast of Kerala, reflecting on the profound experiences of the past two days. Boarding the bus to return home, our hearts were full of gratitude, and our spirits were uplifted. The pilgrimage had been not just a physical journey but an unforgettable spiritual exercise and experience. We remain grateful to Almighty God and to our provincials and superiors for the blessed opportunity to visit these sacred places of pilgrimage.

We also earnestly pray for the novices who will profess their vows on May 31, 2024. May they grow in the holiness of life through the inspiration and guidance of St Alphonsus’s spirit and the intercession of our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Fr. George Mathew, CSsR.

Novice Master