Kuzhikkattussery Pilgrim Centre, Mala is one of the popular tourists and pilgrim centres among Roman Catholics where the two tombs have been placed in the Holy Family Convent Church.
It has only about 6 km away from Mala town. Blessed Mariam Thresia who died on 8 June, 1926, and Fr Vithayathil, who was the spiritual guide of blessed Mariam Thresia died in 1964.
The Foundation of the Congregation of the Holy Family
In 1903 Mariam Thresia requested her bishop’s permission to build a prayer house of solitude, but Mar John Menachery, the Vicar Apostolic of Thrissur, first wanted to test her vocation. He suggested to her to consider joining the newly founded Congregation of the Franciscan Clarists, but she did not think that she was called to it. In 1912 he made arrangements for her to live in a convent of the Carmelite nuns at Ollur.
Though the Sisters would gladly have admitted her into their Congregation, she did not feel that it was her call. Finally, in 1913 Mar Menachery permitted her to build a prayer house and sent his secretary to bless it. Thresia moved in, and her three companions joined her soon. They led a life of prayer and austere penance like hermits but continued to visit the sick and help the poor and the needy irrespective of religion or caste.
The bishop discerned that here was in gestation a new religious Congregation for the service of the family. On 14 May 1914 he erected it canonically and named it the Congregation of the Holy Family (CHF) at Puthenchira while receiving the perpetual profession of Mariam Thresia. Her three companions were enrolled as postulants in the new Congregation, while she was appointed its first Superior with Father Joseph Vithayathil as chaplain. In 1915 the first school of the congregation started. In 1922 the second house at Kuzhikkattusery and in 1926 the blessing of the third house of the congregation at Thumpoor.
Nurturing the New Congregation
The newly founded Congregation had no written Constitutions. The bishop himself procured the Constitutions of the Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux from their house in Ceylon (today, Sri Lanka), adapted it and gave it to the foundress. Mother Mariam Thresia saw to its strict observance in the new Congregation, which she nurtured with great care.
During and after the difficult years of the First World War, with indomitable energy and utter trust in divine providence, she built, in less than twelve years, three new convents, two schools, two hostels, a study house, and an orphanage. Education of girls was Mariam Thresia’s liberation theology in action, without the slogan.
Several young girls were attracted to her by her simplicity, humility and shining sanctity. At the time of her death at the age of fifty there were 55 Sisters in the Congregation, 30 boarders and 10 orphans under her care. The co-founder Father Joseph Vithayathil continued, till his death in 1964, to nurture the Congregation, which grew steadily.
A must see location for Pilgrims, Tourists and Students.
How to reach: Visitors can hire taxis from Mala town or travel by regular buses plying Mala, Kundai. The distance shall be from Mala to Kundai 5 km and from Kundai to Kuzhikkattussery Pilgrim Centre 1km.