Indian nun murdered 22 years ago to be beatified by Vatican
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints hailed Rani Maria's efforts that helped sow 'the seed of love and justice'. In photo: St. Peter's square. Photograph: (AFP)
The Vatican will beatify Rania Maria, 22 years after she was murdered for her missionary work among the downtrodden.
Maria will be known as Blessed Rania Maria -- a title that is a stage below sainthood in Catholic Church. Beatification is the penultimate stage of the canonisation process.
“Pope Francis has approved the report of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints for promulgating the decree of Sr Rani Maria’s martyrdom," The Indian Express quoted the Syro-Malabar Church in Kochi as saying.
Vatican had already started Maria's elevation to sainthood in 2003. She was declared a "servant of god" in 2007.
Maria was 41 when she died of 54 stab wounds while on a bus in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh. She was murdered by a man named Samandar Singh.
Singh was handed a life term but speaking to The Indian Express now, expressed his "lifetime remorse" for killing Maria.
"What I did was wrong. It has saddled me with a lifelong remorse – I repent for my deed and think about her in my prayers every day.”
Singh said he was influenced by some landlords to kill Maria for her work with the poor in the country.
But now Singh hopes that he gets the chance to travel to the Vatican for her beatification.
Since he doesn't have a passport, he hopes that "the Vatican writes to the government of India... maybe I will get a passport".
On Friday, Sister Selmy Maria, sister of the slain nun, said: "We got official confirmation (of Maria's beatification) around 6pm yesterday. I am proud of my sister."
Maria, who hailed from India's southern state of Kerala, worked as a social worker withing the Diocese of Indore in central India, Radio Vatican said.