Blessed Fr Augustine Thevarparambil
Blessed Fr Augustine Thevarparambil led a very simple life for the poor and wished to be with them even after death.
Augustine was born on 1 April 1891, at Ramapuram, Kerala, India, as the son of Itty Iype and Eliswa of the Thevarparambil clan. Augustine was ordained priest on July 16, 1915. Affectionately called Kunjachan, Augustine witnessed the dehumanizing caste system that deprived the human dignity of an entire class of people. He would devote his entire life to the uplifting of this class called Dalits or the broken ones. It is the singular achievement of Kunjachan that he had been able to baptise by himself no less than 5,000 Dalits and gave his whole 50 years of priestly life for them.
He is to be counted as one of the foremost missionaries among the Dalits in India. He wrote in his Testament: “I do not possess anything either as landed property or as cash account... After my death, my funeral must be conducted in the most simple way. It shows how the cancer of casteism affected the church in India - Dalit Christians had even separate burial grounds. Kunjachan died on 16 October 1973 at the age of 82, and was beatified on 30 April 2006 in his own village Ramapuram of Palai diocese by Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil
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