Friday, December 10, 2010

Short Historical Note on Rev.Fr. Susainather CR

Fr. Susainather CR has the dual distinction of being a diocesan priest as well as a monastic priest. During the period of his ministry people considered him as one of exceptional charism. People admired him and considered him a man of faith, a man of God and a holy priest.

He was born on December 18, 1882 in the parish of Sacred Heart Church (Later from 1923, cathedral), of Tuticorin in the Diocese of Tuticorin. On the 8th day, he was baptized with the name of Antony. (Later Susainather in 1943 in the Rosarian monastry). After his schooling, he had his priestly training at the papal seminary. Kandy, SriLanka. He was ordained priest on December 17, 1910 at Kandy by The Rt.Rev. Augustine Feisantier, the Bishop of Tiruchirappalli. After his ministry in various capacities in the Diocese of Trichy and of Tuticorin he joined the Rosarian congregation at Tholagatty, SriLanka. He made his first profession on September 8,1943.

During the 29 years of his ministry as s diocesan priest in 7 parishes with several substations, his activities of the spiritual and the material welfare of the people were rooted in his faith in God and his love of God and the people. He had great concern for the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden and the low caste. In order to honour him, the Christians of the parish of Our Lady of Snows of Tuticorin have erected a statue of his in front of the Grotto in the church compound. Christians of Panjampatti in the diocese of Dindigul have set up monument of with his finger nail and a kerchief of his and pray there, and at Anthoniarpuram his photograph is kept in front of the church and at homes and they pray, at Karampadu his photograph is recently installed in the sacristy of the newly consecrated Church. People of Uvari consider him a holy man and consider the period of his mmistry as golden age of its history. Many of them visited him at the monastery of the Rosarians at Vadakankulam. Even now every year hundreds of Christians go on pilgrimage in large groups to his tomb at Vadakankulam.

In his contemplative life in the Rosarian Congregation too he was highly respected as an ideal monk by his confreres. His old age could not prevent him from taking pain to establish two great Ashrams in Tuticorin Diocese (Fatimagiri, 1944) and in Tiruchi Dioceses(Pushpavanam, ] 952). He was also the pioneer to establish a Rosarian Monastery for women at Amalivanam Vadagankulma in 1954.

He was quite earnest in all activities as a monk even in his seventies in spite of constant pain in .his knees due to a fall during the visit to a substation in his forties. Bishop Roche and afterwards Bishop Thomas of the diocese ofTuticorin were regular visitors every month and requested him to pray for the diocese particularly in times of problems in the diocese. Many priest, nuns and lay people sought him for confession and spiritual guidance. Even now many elders associate Vadakkankulam with him.

Thousands of people from all over the place even from neighbouring dioceses gathered at Vadakkankulam for the festivities of Our lady of Assumption on August 15 every year and most of them flocked to the monastery to get the blessing of Father Susainather. When he was paralyzed and remained in bed and in wheel chair, they went there to have his blessings. After his death, many visited his tomb there and prayed.

On December 15, 1955 Father Susainather had a fall and both his legs were swollen and thereafter he could not walk and he was to remain in a wheelchair and in bed. On December 17, 1960 was remembered the Golden Jubille of his ordination to priesthood. He received the Holy Communion from the Bishop during the special Mass. On May 31, 1968 he received the sacrament of anointing of the sick and passed away on June 8, 1968. 14 years he endured patiently his paralysed life and sufferings for the conversion of India and Sri Lanka.

His confreres confided in him and were vying with one another to look after him bedridden and regarded him a model of sanctity. Now there are constant visitors to his tomb at Vadakkankulam. Students and the youth having heard of him from their grandparents or parents, during the State Board exams or at the time of interviews for employment or any serious decision to be taken visit his tomb and pray for success in their endeavours. Sick people, medically not possible cases, addicts, alcoholics, also visit his tomb and pray for their cure.

Many believe that his mortal body would remain incorruptible in the tomb.

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