Ashes of the first Indian Catholic nun to be cremated were interred in her congregation’s cemetery in Kerala state on July 7, five days after she died of Covid-19 in New Delhi.
Sister Ajaya Mary, the Delhi provincial of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, died on July 2 in the church-run Holy Family Hospital in Delhi. She was 67.
Bishop Paul Mullassery of Quilon celebrated a requiem Mass with some 20 people in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols. He later led ceremonies interning the nun’s mortal remains in the vault of the congregation’s private cemetery.
The Delhi administration did not allow her body to be transported to Kerala. It could not be buried in the city’s cramped Christian cemeteries because of the administration’s protocols.
The government took away the nun’s body and cremated her at a state crematorium on the day she died.
Church sources said the nun is believed to be the first Catholic nun to be cremated in India, and arguably the first in the Catholic Church’s history.
Sister Gaily Mary, one of two two nuns who attended her cremation, told UCA News on July 6 that “it was so painful for me to imagine a final journey without the presence of near and dear ones like an unknown person.”
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her…