I am penning down something on Bl. Rani Maria two days after her beatification. She worked with the women self-help groups, which affected the business (exploitation) of money lenders and she was brutally murdered in 1995. She was officially declared a blessed by the church for her martyrdom. There are a lot of articles on her, which are coming up these days. Some titles that could be ascribed to her are ‘Smiling Saint’, ‘Smiling Prophet’, ‘Prophet/Saint of the Poor’ and so on. Today I would like to see how her prophetic witness continues even today.
Sr Rani had an unusual combination of having an ever Smiling face and a being a crusader against injustice. But the beauty of her life is, she was able to influence her family and her congregation to that same prophetic witness even after her death. Swami Sadanand (a CMI priest) who was working with the prisons met the murderer Samander Singh, and it starts a beautiful journey of prophetic reconciliation. Sr Selmi Paul, the younger sister tied rakhi on Samander Singh; Samander asked the forgiveness of the family; the aged parents of Sr Rani Maria forgave him and accepted him as their family member.
She was a prophet during her life. But her mission of prophetic witness for justice and reconciliation (justice and reconciliation has to go together) was continued in the most astonishing manner by her family members, ably guided by Swami Sadanand CMI. They showed that the work of the prophet doesn’t end in her death, but flourished in a beautiful manner post death.
When today’s world needs forgiveness, healing and reconciliation and none is ready to offer, this family stands as a shining example. They not only forgave, but accepted Samander Singh. The family helped him to realize the life in its abundance, which Jesus came to give to all. Sr Rani Maria would be so happy to see the entire episode of prophetic reconciliation. Surely these experiences are a tangible experience of the God’s Kingdom here and now.
When we take her entire life (including the post death events), we see 3 main characteristics , which Jesus (and many others) exhibited brilliantly..
- Person of Joy
- Fight against injustice
- Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
(I thank a priest friend (Assis) who asked me to write on her…)