Skip to comments.Mother of six priests and four nuns dies at 94
Posted on 07/15/2011 2:17:44 PM PDT by NYer
Special Correspondent, Jul. 15. KOLKATA, (C.M.Paul) - Mother of 15 children died at the age of 94 on 14 July in her home in Kerala after an illness due to old age complications which lasted two years.
The deceased, Mrs. Elizabeth Anikuzhikattil, affectionately called Aleykutty, a devout Syro-Malabar catholic woman, gifted ten of her children to the Church. Of her eight boys, six are priests and one a bishop. Among her seven girls, four are religious, two Sacred Heart Sisters (Kerala) and one each Salesian Sister and Franciscan Missionary of Mary.
Mrs Elizabeth`s eldest child Annie is a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians serving in Mysore while her eldest boy Mathew is bishop of Idukki.
Mother of six priests and four nuns dies at 94. Mrs. Anikuzhikattil will be buried at Holy Family Parish Kunchithanny, Idukki dist near Munnar, on 18 July.
Mr Luke Anikuzhikattil, her husband died in 2006.
``We migrated from Kadaplamattam parish in Palai diocese in 1949 to Idukki. Along with the first batch of agricultural migrants, my father cleared forest area and settled in Idukki. I can still remember growing up in a large tree-house,`` recalls one of her sons Salesian Father Dr Jose Anikuzhikattil who was born in the Idukki forest.
Early settlers lived on tree houses to fend off attacks from wild elephants and jungle beasts, who were not pleased with human encroachers into their kingdom.
Fr Joseph Anikuzhikattil, SDB (53 years) a professor at Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong and currently Rector of Don Bosco College Azara, Guwahati has a PhD degree in Missiology from Gregorian University in Rome.
``My mother lived a very successful life bringing up 15 children in the frontier days of Idukki settlement, says Prof. Jose.
``Our youngest brother Savio was attacked by Gillen Barry syndrome at the age of 19 and was bed ridden for 15 years. My mother looked after him single handedly for 15 years without even a single bed sore on him,`` recalls Fr Jose.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body`s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness.
``We mourn the death of a holy mother,`` SMSed Fr Augustine Kootala a priest friend of Fr Jose who knew her.
Youngest priest son, a Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle (M.S.T.) who was the first parish priest of Syro-Malabar Kalayan diocese at Pune in 1990 died in 1992. He was returning on his motor cycle after catechism class in a village when he was run over by truck and killed instantly,`` says Fr Jose during a stop over to catch a flight from Kolkata to Kochi.
``Don Bosco`s promise of heaven for her is surely fulfilled,`` SMSed Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong.
``A priest is the greatest blessing to a family and all who offer their sons to the church will be blessed for many generations. They are assured of heaven,`` said Don Bosco.
Dr. Syvanus Sngi Lyngdoh, a 90 year old Salesian priest patriarch in Khasi Hills now living in Guwahati and compiling a 60 volume Bible commentary in Khasi language is of the opinion that ``parents who bring up more than five children as God loving people and honest citizens are sure to go to heaven.``
Although it is not widely known in our Western world, the Catholic Church is actually a communion of Churches. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church is understood to be "a corporate body of Churches," united with the Pope of Rome, who serves as the guardian of unity (LG, no. 23). At present there are 22 Churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The new Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, uses the phrase "autonomous ritual Churches" to describe these various Churches (canon 112). Each Church has its own hierarchy, spirituality, and theological perspective. Because of the particularities of history, there is only one Western Catholic Church, while there are 21 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Western Church, known officially as the Latin Church, is the largest of the Catholic Churches. It is immediately subject to the Roman Pontiff as Patriarch of the West. The Eastern Catholic Churches are each led by a Patriarch, Major Archbishop, or Metropolitan, who governs their Church together with a synod of bishops. Through the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Roman Pontiff works to assure the health and well-being of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
While this diversity within the one Catholic Church can appear confusing at first, it in no way compromises the Church's unity. In a certain sense, it is a reflection of the mystery of the Trinity. Just as God is three Persons, yet one God, so the Church is 22 Churches, yet one Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this nicely:
"From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them... Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC no. 814).
Although there are 22 Churches, there are only eight "Rites" that are used among them. A Rite is a "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony," (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 28). "Rite" best refers to the liturgical and disciplinary traditions used in celebrating the sacraments. Many Eastern Catholic Churches use the same Rite, although they are distinct autonomous Churches. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are distinct Churches with their own hierarchies. Yet they both use the Byzantine Rite.
To learn more about the "two lungs" of the Catholic Church, visit this link:
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Just wow. I feel like a total loser now.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle.
The scripture scholar mentioned at the end of the article would make any scholar feel like a slacker:
beautiful story! Elizabeth must have been a truly amazing woman.
and thanks for the great info about the Eastern Rite churches. i’m saving this, it’s the best summary i’ve seen.
(i especially am amazed at the Coptic church, and others in sharia countries. their faith is inspiring...)
Did you anticipate that a married woman would? Why?
I know! Amazing isn’t it?
At least he’s using a laptop and not a hand-whittled bamboo pen!
India is a fascinating place with an amazing variety of Christian expression. I just got a new seminarian to sponsor there, after my young man in Ethiopia was ordained.
What a remarkable woman and legacy.
She must have been an incredibly wonderful, spiritual, fully Catholic woman to have so many of her children in the Holy Orders. My prayers go up for her, and I’ll try to get a Mass said at my parish.
But somehow she raised 10 kids who do practice it.
God rest her soul. My b-i-l had an Associate Pastor for a while who was from Kerala.
“Go dorth and multiply” is what God instructed.
She was following what was given by God!
Prayers for the repose of her soul.
Go forth and multiply is what God instructed.
I hate it when letters are next to each other on the keyboard ;-).
Drive-by anti-Catholic didn’t come back ... typical. Don’t like chastity, don’t like children ... you just have to wonder about some people.