Birth and Baptism

Blessed Mariam Thresia was born on April 26, 1876 as the third child of Chiramel Mankidiyan Thoma and Thanda. Thanda was the second wife of Thoma. His first wife Mariamkutty was from Menachery family of Njarakkal. She died at child birth in 1872. Thanda came from the well known Mangaly family of Thuravur. Thoma and Thanda lived in a little thatched shed. They had two boys and three girls. First was a boy named Porinchu (Francis) and the second was a girl-Mariamkutty, the third was Thresia, the fourth was Ouseph and fifth was Ittianam. She always loved to play with her elder brother Porinchu and elder sister Mariamkutty.

Her mother Thanda who was beautiful and noble, kind and gracious in nature, played a decisive role in the formation of Little Thresia.

Blessed Mariam Thresia was baptized on Wednesday May 3, 1876, seven days after her birth, at her parish – St.Mary’s Church, Puthenchira. Her baptism name was Thresia. She was given this name after St.Teresa of Avila, Reverend Poulose Maliakkal Koonan was the parish priest who administered the sacrament. Her parental uncle Antony Chiramel Mankidiyan was the God father and his wife Anna the God mother.

Little Thresia goes to school

At the age of five, Thresia was sent to a kalari, where the rudimentary of the three R’s were taught by the village teacher. At that time there was no regular school at Puthenchira. There was only a kalari. She learnt reading and writing from kalari.She also joined catechism class in the parish. She was smart in learning and could memorize the prayers quickly. Little Thresia gave up enjoyments for the sake of Jesus. Thresia was so humble and simple. When she was going to school people could note a difference in her behavior and life style. While playing with friends, she suddenly disappeared and later she wrote in her biography “if ever I did not join others in playing, my mother would scold me and ask “why can’t you go and play with your friends? What is the reason for your sorrow and grief?” I used to reply, “I have no physical illness at all; wasting time would grieve Jesus, and this thought makes me sad”. Her mother finally gave up such interferences. Later Fr.Joseph Vithayathil wrote in his biography “it was in order to maintain the presence of god, she gave up her enjoyments”. Even as a child, she loved God and saw God in fellow humans.

She writes “When I was a child, I got a swollen boil in my arm and could not move about. I was helped to sit outside to enjoy fresh air. My brother was there playing with three others. A stone hit my arm, and I fainted. As I came to myself, my father was going to catch them and spank them. Then I said:” just because you thrash them, my pain will not lessen. Please forgive them.” So he did not thrash them. He asked: My daughter, from where did you get so much patience? What sort of thoughts are yours?”

From childhood onwards she had three close friends ---- Mariam Karumalikkal, Kochumariam Koonan and Thresia Koonan. In all her activities they were with her. They were the first members of the Congregation of the Holy Family along with the founders. As Little Thresia continued prayers, fasts and night vigils, she grew lean and sick. Her mother took her to mother house for treatment and tried to feed her with better food. But Thresia used to give it away to others secretly. Finally Thanda stopped her plan to make little Thresia plumb.