The Honours Government of India Conferred upon St.Alphonsa
Having soared to the acme of sanctity, Sr.Alphonsa’s soul was gathered to her fathers and the order of saints in an odour of grace on 28th July 1946. She is the first Indian ever to figure in the Catholic canon. That the Government of India bestowed upon her some of the highest civilian honours is a matter of great jubilation and exhilaration for millions of her devotees around the world.
In commemoration of the semi-centennial of her death that fell on 28 July 1996, New Delhi issued a one rupee stamp with a depiction of the saint, which was formally released by the late Mr.K Karunakaran, former chief minister of Kerala, at Bharananganam on 19 July 1996.
Acknowledging the historic import of the occasion, the Central Government sent an official delegation comprised of a dozen illustrious personages to attend the canonization of Alphonsa by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s on 12 October 2008 and as a memorial thereunto published a five rupee stamp in New Delhi on 16 November 2008.
At the inaugural of St.Alphonsa’s birth centennial celebrations held at Bharananganam on 23 July 2009,Mr.Pranab Mukherji, the federal finance minister, released a 5 rupee coin with an embossed portrait of hers on the obverse as legal tender and a 100 rupee memorial coin. The stamps and coins issued in her honour have run into tens of thousands breaking all records.
The gracious presence of Mrs.Prathibha Patel, President of India, at the solemn ceremony held at Bharananganam that rounded off St.Alphonsa’s birth centenary observances was the ultimate accolade accorded to her.
Never ever in India has a saintly soul been so soulfully honoured as has Alphonsa been.