Tag Archives: “heroic virtue”

Meet Augustine John Ukken and Antonietta Giugliano. They both now bear the title of Venerable, the second step on the journey to Sainthood.

Journey to Sainthood                                                 vatican.org

By Larry Peterson

On Friday, December 22, 2018, Pope Francis, based on the recommendations from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, validated nine men and three women as people of “Heroic Virtue.”  These people are now worthy of the title of Venerable. Among them are Augustine John Ukken, from India, and Antonietta Giugliano, from New York. Their lives and journeys are profiled here.

Venerable Augustine John Ukken:

Augustine John Ukken was born on December 19, 1880, in Parappur, located in the state of Kerala in India. Augustine was the second son born to Punnapar and Chalaki Ukken. Sadly, both of his parents died when he was only six years old. The boy was taken in by the parish priest who provided him with a home and an education.

In 1895, based on the recommendations of his priest and mentor (name unknown) the Bishop, Adolphus  Mediycott had Augustine enrolled in the Monir Seminary in Trichur. Upon completing his studies there he moved Kandy, in Sri Lanka, to begin his study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest by the Bishop Clement Pagany on December 21, 1907.

Father was assigned to St. Thomas College in Thrissur, where he taught French and Latin from 1908 to 1909. In 1910 he became the Rector of the Minor Seminary and remained at that post also serving as Secretary to Archbishop John Manachery from 1913 until 1917. At that point, he was assigned to assist at different parishes doing the work of a parish priest. In 1921 he was named as the Manager of St. Thomas College and remained in that post until 1925.

From 1925 and on, Father Augustine spent time in different parishes getting deeply involved with the poor and starving people and children. Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, he prayed for guidance so he might help them. On November 21, 1944, he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity.

The mission of the new order was the “caring of the sick, tending those who are in deathbed, uplifting the poor and giving catechetical formation.”  The new order was approved by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Thrissur, George Alapatt.

Father Augustine John Ukken passed away on October 13, 1956. He was 75. He was declared a Servant of God on August 24, 2008, and on December 22, 2018, declared Venerable.

Venerable Augustine John Ukken, please pray for us.

 

Venerable Antonietta Giugliano:

Among those recommended to Pope Francis by Cardinal Becciu as having “Heroic Virtue”  was Antonietta Giugliano. Antonietta was born in New York in 1909 and move to Italy (probably as a child but there is no definite date). Trained under Venerable Sosio Del Prete, a Franciscan priest,  Antonietta began the Institute of the Little Servants of Christ the King in Naples.

She had wanted to start a group that would offer a Christian response to humanitarian emergencies in the area and in 1935 she started  The Little Servants of Christ the King. The purpose was to assist the elderly, educate the children, and acquire needed items for the poor, such as clothing and food and medical supplies.

Antonietta gave most of what she and her family had to the needy. A woman who possessed a deep humility, she spent the rest of her life fighting severe pain and illness, yet never wavering in her mission to help those in need.

Antonietta passed away in Naples in 1960. She was 51. She left behind as her legacy the order she had founded plus a reputation as a woman of great holiness. The cause for her elevation to sainthood began in 2006. She has completed the second step in the four-part process of Canonization and is now Venerable Antonietta Giugliano.

Venerable Antonietta Giugliano, please pray for us.

 ©Larry Peterson 2019

Servant of God; Father Varghese Payyappilly Palakkappilly (Kathanar)

Venerable Payyappilly Varghese Kathanar

By Larry Peterson

On April 14, 2018, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He presented the cardinal with the names of eight Catholics who have attained the designation of Servants of God. This designation is awarded to those who have attained the first pedestal on their road to canonization. Among those named was Servant of God, Father Varghese Payyapilly Palakkappilly (yes, that is a definite tongue-twister so we will keep it at Father Varghese).

Cardinal Amato was authorized by the Holy Father to place those named worthy of receiving a promulgation of “the Heroic Virtues.” Pope Benedict XIV, 1740 to 1758, who is considered the defining authority on these virtues, wrote five volumes about them. They are still used in determining if a Servant of God meets the criteria of demonstrating ‘heroic virtue.’

A simple way to think of  ‘heroic virtue’  might be as a virtue that has become a second nature.  It becomes a habit of good behavior that can only be attained through the love of God and a closeness to Him, a closeness that most of us never reach. Heroic Virtue must be a part of those who would be advanced to the level of Venerable from Servant of God.

Father Varghese was born in India, in the province of Kerala, on August 8, 1876. He attended St. Albert’s School in Ernakulam which is on the southeast coast of India. From St. Albert’s he moved onto the Central Seminary in Sri Lank (formerly Ceylon) an island off the coast of India. From there he attended the Papal Seminary, also in Sri Lanka, where he was ordained a priest on December 21, 1907.

Father Verghase was assigned as a parish priest and served as such in various parishes from 1909 thru 1922. While serving at the parish in Arakuzha, he began St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School. His presence and efforts at the school and church helped reunite many estranged families and succeeded in making the church self-sufficient through land purchases.

Father Verghase also managed to acquire land for the construction of St. Joseph’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He remained there until 1929. It was reported that during Father Varghese’s tenure there, vocations to the priesthood exploded.

Father Verghases’s reputation as a kind and loving priest continued to grow. He became a member of the Diocesan Council and the Director of Apostolic Union as well as the Priests’ Provident Fund. People from all over came to him because they wanted his counsel to help them with their problems. He managed to bring many families back together using the wisdom he received from the Holy Spirit.

The simple priest was held in high esteem both by church officials and government officers. His empathy for the poor and suffering and his reputation spread far and wide after he helped many victims of the great flood of 1924. He even turned St. Mary’sHigh School into a shelter and delivered food himself by boat.

On March 19, 1927, Father Verghese founded the Sisters of the Destitute. His intention was to continue what he saw as Christ’s saving message among the poor. He found abandoned people, brought them to the shelter of the Home for the Aged and nursed them.

Today the Sisters of the Destitute, have over 1500 nuns and also include among its ranks doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers. They are located in Asia, Europe, Africa and across the United States.  The operate such institutions as homes for the sick and needy, health centers, libraries, nursing homes, schools, hospitals and cancer centers.

Payyappilly Palakkappilly Varghese Kathnar (that is Father Verghese’s full name) died from typhoid fever on October 5, 1929. He was buried at St. St John Nepumsian Syrian Catholic Church in Kornthurthy, India. On August 25, 2009, Father Verghese was declared a Servant of God by the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar CatholicChurch.

When Pope Francis authorized Father Verghese as worthy of having “the heroic virtue” he (aswell as the seven others) were elevated to the rank of Venerable. A miracle attributed to Father Verghase is under review for Father Verghese and if validated, Venerable Verghase Payyappilly may become beatified.

Venerable Verghase Payyappilly, please pray for us.