JUNE 19, 2021: This is a gripping story of a brutal murder of Blessed Martyr Sr Rani Maria Vattalil of India and how her parents forgave the murderer, and her whole family accepted and treated him like a son. His name is Samandar Singh and he was 28-years-old then. He was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment but the family appealed and he was eventually pardoned and released after serving 11 years in prison.
Bl Sr Rani Maria was born on Jan 29, 1954 in a small village called Pulluvazhy, near Cochin (Kochi) City and Perumbavoor town in Kerala. She joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) and was serving the poor in Udainagar and nearby villages in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, southwest of New Delhi.
Landlords who resented Bl Sr Rani Maria’s work among poor in villages in the Indore Diocese hired the killer. And on Feb 25, 1995, she was stabbed multiple times while travelling on a bus to her home in Kerala. She was 41.
She was beatified as “Blessed Martyr” on Nov 4, 2017. She is now India’s first women martyr and on her way to sainthood. A 56-minute documentary film, Heart of a Murderer, on Bl Sr Rani Maria’s murder and Singh’s repentance, was released in 2013. It won the top prize at the World Interfaith Harmony Film Festival. There are plans to make another documentary on her life but filming can only begin after the Covid pandemic eases off.