Birth Centennary Celebarations

Visit of Smt Patibha Patil, the President of India, 12 August 2010

The President of India Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil attended the function organised as part of the grant finale of a year-long celebrations of the birth centenary of St. Alphonsa at Bharananganam, Kerala on August 12, 2010.

Recalling the physical and spiritual sufferings of St Alphonsa, the President said that though she spent much of her life within the confines of the convent she always prayed for the wellbeing of others ignoring her own traumas. “Prayer is a means to search for the divinity in each of us”, she said.

President Patil has called for the inculcation of a broader vision where people look at the universe as one world and at all fellow beings as belonging to one human race.

"Every religion seeks the same goal, emphasizing the importance of working for peace and for promoting a feeling of universal brotherhood. All religions extol people to adopt a compassionate and tolerant approach. Love and affection are the cardinal principles underlying all religions. There is no religion that promotes disharmony," Ms Patil said.

Ms Patil on the occasion laid the foundation stone of the Saint Alphonsa Hospice, a palliative care centre, and launched the Saint Alphonsa Foundation, a financial assistance scheme for poor patients suffering from heart and kidney disease and cancer.

"These are a befitting tribute to her. I am confident that guided by her spirit, these institutions will work to remove the pain of the suffering," she said.

Major Archbishop Baselius Clemis Catholicos, vice-chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI); Leader of the Opposition Ommen Chandy; Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam of Changanassery; Archbishop Susaipakiam of Thiruvananthapuram; Jose K. Mani, MP; K.M. Mani and P.C. George, MLAs; the former Governor of Meghalaya M.M. Jacob; Mother Sinclair, Mother Superior of Franciscan Clarist Congregation etc. were present on the occasion.

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