“The Church of India will grow only in the blood of Christians.” were the exact words of John Paul II, during his apostolic visit to India in December 1999. Sr. Rani Maria is one of the brave Christian missionaries who shed her blood whilst serving Christ as a missionary.

Sr. Rani Maria has through her acts as a missionary conveyed to us a few, very important lessons/ qualities, which we must all try to imbibe and practice as children of God. During her lifetime she worked to uplift the poor and downtrodden in the northern parts of India.

The most striking quality which Sr Rani Maria possessed was her bravery. “I would desire to die a martyr for the love of Jesus and for my poor downtrodden brethren”, were the words of braveheart Sr. Rani Maria. She was appointed as the coordinator of the social activities in Odagady on 25th July 1983. From thereon, there was no looking back for her. She organized educational programmes for the children, the young, and the aged. She dedicated her life towards making the poor aware of their rights and duties as citizens of India. As a result, she became the object of the displeasure of their oppressors, who considered her work to uplift the poor as attempts to convert them to Christianity. She received numerous life threats during this period. However, she stood strong and undeterred and continued with her activities to help and uplift the poor and give them a better life.

Through her death, she taught us about the act of forgiveness. Few years after her death, her elder sister, Sr. Selmy visited the man who assassinated her in prison on the day of Rakshabandhan and tied a rakhi on his wrist. On her eight death anniversary, Sr. Rani Maria’s mother, Eliswa, visited the assassin in jail and kissed his hands; thereby forgiving him. Forgiving someone is perhaps the most difficult to do. But Sr. Rani Maria, through her sister and mother forgave her assassin.

Sr. Rani Maria through her life and death set a precedent for us to follow and live by. She became a martyr while serving God, just like Jesus, who sacrificed His life in order to save us all. The canonization of Sr. Rani Maria would always serve as a reminder to us that we as children of God, can in our very own ways perform the work of God and help fulfill what Sr. Rani Maria sacrificed her life for – making this society a better place for each one of us.