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Sister Alphonsa was a Christian saint and social worker. She was born Anna Muttathupadathu in Kundamalur, Kerala. When her family wanted to get her married she burned herself so badly she was disfigured. In 1927 she joined the Franciscan Clarist Convent and took the name Sister Alphonsa. She soon began working for the care of the sick and needy. She was, however, ill, and remained so till her early death at the age of thirty six on the eve of Independence. She was buried at Palai in Kottayam and her tomb rapidly became a place of pilgrimage. Pope John Paul II beatified, that is recognized that she had gone to heaven, Sister Alphonsa in 1986, the first step on the way to declaring a person a saint. In May 1999, a disabled child began to walk after visiting Sister Alphonsa’s tomb. This miracle was accepted as such by the Catholic Church and it added weight to the plea for her canonization. She was canonized in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
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