In a small by-lane in the KVB Gardens colony in the far south end R. A. Puram, a family has decorated a place of worship and prayer today, July 28 and through the day expects people of the area to drop in and reflect here.
This place is dedicated to saint Alphonsa, a Keralite nun who was the first Indian woman to be canonised as a saint by the Catholic Church and the first canonised saint of the Syro-Malabar Church, an Eastern Catholic Church based in Kerala.
The church celebrates her feast today.
So how did R. A. Puram get to have a prayer space devoted to this saintly nun who passed away in 1946?
Ignatius, who served in the army, gave up his assignment and came to settle down in the late 1940s on the edge of what was then a green expanse that came to be called R A Puram ran a canteen at Sathya Studio. He chose to venerate the saintly nun, Alphonsa in his home and over time created a prayer hall ( which used to face the petrol station that stands today adjoining the then studio’s wall).
Local people began to come in and meditate.
The space dedicated to Sr. Alphonsa is now managed by the founder’s grandson, Pratapraj and his wife Susheela.
This prayer space had to be shifted when the old properties were sold. It is now located in an alley, not far from the old location.
“We keep it open for 12 hours every day and we get people who come and pray,” says Pratapraj, who used to run a business.
Statues and framed pictures of saint Alphonsa and of Jesus, Mary and some other saints are on place on and around the altar space here.