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Fr. Payyappilly Varghese
Venerable Fr. Payyappilly Varghese
Payyappilly Varghese Kathanar was a Syro-Malabar priest from the Indian state of Kerala and the founder of the congregation of Sisters of the Destitute.He was declared Venerableby Pope Francis on 14 April 2018. Varghese Kathanar was born as Kunjuvaru on 8 August 1876 to Payyappilly Lonan and Kunjumariam in the Payyappilly at Perumanoor, Thevara. After his primary education,he joined the seminary where the religious training from the Central Seminary at Puthenpally and the Papal Seminary at Kandy, Sri Lanka.
He was ordained a priest on 21 December 1907 and was known as Payyappilly Varghese Kathanar. He served as parish priest in various parishes of the then undivided Archdiocese of Ernakulam. On 19 March 1927, Varghese Kathanar founded the Sisters of the Destitute in Chunangamvely. This organisation was intended to continue what he saw as Christ’s redemptive mission among the poor. He found abandoned people, brought them to the shelter of the Home for the Aged and nursed them. The S.D. was originally named Little Sisters of the Poor but in 1933 the name was changed to Sisters of the Destitute in order not to be confused with another congregation having the same title.Varghese Kathanar fell ill in September 1929 and eventually was hospitalised. He died of typhoid on 5 October 1929 and was buried in St. John Nepumsian Catholic Church, Konthuruthy. He was declared as Servant of God by Mar Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on 6 September 2009.In February 2011, his remains were exhumed, identified and transferred to a new tomb. On 14 April 2018, Pope Francis declared him "Venerable