Arunachal Church hopes for its first martyr saints

Local people say that soon after their death, their blood mingled with the water of the land and a new spring began flowing.

Sketches of Servants of God Frs. Krick (L) and Bourry of the Paris Foreign Missions, who were martyred in Arunachal Pradesh, India, in 1854. - RV

The Catholic Church in North-east hopes to have its first saints in French missionaries, Fathers Nicolas-Michel Krick and Augustin-Etienne Bourry, who were martyred over 160 years ago in Arunachal Pradesh.

Their cause is being promoted actively by Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao. The preliminary diocesan-level inquiry began in 2010-2011 after clearance from the Vatican, and the two were conferred the title ‘Servant of God’.

Frs. Krick and Bourry were members of the Society of the Paris Foreign Missions (M.E.P), who arrived in Arunachal Pradesh on way to their destination, Tibet. They were killed by the chief of the Mishmi people on 2 August, 1854, in Somme village of Lohit district. Krick was 35 and Bourry just 28. Their mortal remains are still enshrined in the village.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Fr. Felix Anthony, the secretary of the Office for Social Communication of Miao Diocese, said the diocesan level investigation is over and the papers have been forwarded to the Vatican.

It was difficult to find evidence and proofs of their holiness and martyrdom. Arunachal had very little to offer, but the letters the two exchanged with the headquarters of the Paris Foreign Mission provided a lot of information on their journey from Chennai to Kolkata, then to Guwahati and to Arunachal.

“From their letters back home, we came to know about the enormous difficulties and suffering they faced. They were robbed by their own guide and were held captive because they had no money to pay but throughout they were rooted in deep faith,” Fr. Felix said.

Local people say that soon after their death, their blood mingled with the water of the land and a new spring began flowing.

“Despite over 160 years since their death, the two missionaries are very much alive in the memory of the people of east Arunachal. Even though the Mishmi people in whose hands they met their end are not Christians, they have maintained the tomb with the mortal remains of the two Frenchmen,” Fr. Felix said.
Till date, there have not been any reports of spectacular miracles or unexplained healings attributed to Krick and Bourry, but Fr. Felix said people have received graces after praying to them.

Fr. Felix, who is also parish priest of Neotan near Miao, cited that the Newman High School in his parish had reported 22 failures out of 32 candidates for the school’s first public exam in 2015. The students were urged to pray to Krick and Bourry, and the following year, all 33 passed.

This year too all 32 went through. Small children have recovered from illness after praying to the two missionaries, the priest added.

Miao Diocese’s first hospital at Injan was named Krick and Bourry Memorial (KBM) Hospital in 2016. A Church-run high school, close to where Krick and Bourry were martyred, as well as several shops are named after them. Bishop Pallipparambil has also composed a prayer to the two missionaries which is recited in the boarding schools of the diocese.

Source: Vatican Radio

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