History – Antony Susainather

Antony Susainather C.R. the Servant of God, the youngest of the Sixth children, four boys and two girls was born on 18th December 1883, to Francis Fernando and Mathesiammal, in the Parish of sacred Heart Church, Tuticorin. On the 8th day, he was baptised with the name of Antony.

While completing his school studies at St.Xavier’s Tuticorin, the desire for priesthood was born in his heart. He was sent to Kandy Papal Seminary, Sri-Lanka for his priestly training on 23.12.1902. After completing his philosophical, theological studies he was ordained as a priest on 17th December 1910 for the Trichy diocese.

First he worked as an assistant parish priest of St. Joseph at Dindigul. After a year he was transferred to Ayyampatty as a parish priest. He served there for five years. From there he was appointed as a parish Priest of Panjampatty. He worked zealously to build up god’s kingdom for five years. Then he was transferred to Uvari parish. It is here he worked for the overall development of the parish and all the sub-stations. He worked nearly 11 years there. In 1923 Tuticorin diocese was bifurcated from Trichy diocese. Rt. Rev. Tiburlius Roche S.J. was its first bishop. He knew very Fr. Antony and his works. It is here he formed a sodality of men against alcoholism naming MadhuVilakuSabai. From there he was appointed as a parish priest of Kooduthalai. There too he worked tirelessly to build up God’s kingdom.Because of the problem in the parish of our Lady of Snows he was asked by the Bishop to take the charge of the parish. He obeyed immediately. It is here he formed a sodality of our Lady of Immaculate conception of youth. He is the one who conducted the first ever great Eucharist Procession in the history of Tuticorin Diocese. When Bishop askedhim to settle the parish problem of Punnaikayal toohe settled within 6 months, bringing peace among all sections of the people. Then he was transferred to St. James Church, Manapad as parish priest and vicar Forane.

During the 29years of his ministry as a diocese priest in 7 parishes with several substations, his activities of the spiritual and the material welfare of the people were rooted in his faith in God and his love of God and the people, the oppressed, down trodden and the low caste.

While he was the parish priest of Manapad, he felt a call within a call to offer himself totally in the life of prayer and penance. Thus with the Bishop’s explicit permission he went Rosarian monastery in Sri-Lanka to become a monk in the Rosarian Congregation in 1939. Because of the special devotion to St. Joseph, he opted to be called as Susainather. In 1940 he made his first profession and in 1943 his final profession.

In his contemplative life in the Rosarian Congregation too he was highly respected by his confreres. In spite of his old age and severe pain in the leg, with a missionary spirit, he started two communities for men namely Fatimagiri Ashram, Vadakangulam in 1944, Pushpavanam Ashram, Manaparai in 1952. He was also the pioneer to establish a Rosarian Convent for women at Amalivanam, Vadakangulam in 1954.

Due to a fall from the horse while he was a parish priest of Uvari there was a wound in the leg,unfortunately because of the fall form chair his hip was broken which was giving a lot of trouble to him till his death. Though he was taken to different hospitals for treatment, he was not cured. Because of this he was unable to move, speak. He was able to utter a few words which was not audible. From his mouth saliva was coming out continuously.  He was fed by others. He had bed-sore too even. Last 14years of his life, he walked with Jesus on the way of the Cross patiently and steadily. In spite of his severe pain in his body, people never noticed that he was undergoing such a physical suffering. People saw him smiling. He began to show signs of irreparable, deteriorating health. The Lord called him back to his heavenly home on 8thJune 1968.

In order to honour him, the Catholic of the parish of our Lady of Snows, Alangarathathuand Uvari have erected his statue. Christians of Panjampatty have made a tomb keeping in nail fingers and his hand kerchief and pray every day. We see people from all section irrespective of caste, colour, religion coming to his tomb in Vadakangualm to pray every day. In fact people have experienced his intercessory power which can be seen in the record of Thanksgiving.