Sr. Rani Maria arrived at Udainagar in the Diocese of Indore, M.P on18 May 1992. Sr. Mariusha accompanied her from Indore to Udainagar. The convent Snehasadan in Udainagar was a small community of four FCC sisters. This convent was started on 19 December 1985.Udainagar mission is situated 102kms away from Indore Bishop’s house. With the arrival of Sr. Rani Maria, the missionary activities at Udainagar took a turn for the better from being the routine village visits and unorganized humanitarian aids to a more organized way of functioning. The Community was so happy to welcome Sr. Rani Maria, an experienced and well- qualified social worker having 16 years of experience in Bijnor and Satna. She reached in Udainagar with reputation of being a very committed social worker, organizer and animator. With the help of the community members she made a thorough study of the place, people, and their socio economic situation. She was convinced that the poor villagers had unconsciously fallen to the debt trap laid by the Baniya (tradesmen) of Udainagar. She also understood that the villagers over dependent on the money lenders. Through the conscientaization she enabled the poor villagers to form various small organizations for men and women. She formed village credit unions, seva samities, mahila mandals etc. Through these organizations she could get help from the government for many rural development schemes and also loans and subsidies from the banks for fertilizers, seeds and irrigation projects for the poor farmers. These and various other self help programmes for the villagers went against the interests of the local money lenders and other vested interests.
Through her charitable service to the poor she proclaimed her faith in Jesus, who commands to love one another. She extended the activities in and around Udainagar and made every effort to free the poor from the clutches of the exploiting money lenders. She worked tirelessly to conscientize, organize and animate the villagers and inspire them to stand on their legs. Besides these she spent a lot of time in contacting the Government officials requesting them to make available the funds, loans, and subsidies due to the backwards.
The Martyrdom of Sr. Rani Maria, a Witness to Faith
Her activities of evangelization and the charitable services became a threat to a few people in the society. The developmental programmes in which she was engaged for the poor tribal went against the vested interests of the unscrupulous moneylenders and social exploiters. She became the object of their hatred, which grew steadily in step with the progress of the poor. One month before her murder there was a fight between the Adivasi Catholics in the village and some political leaders. Sr. Rani Maria’s reconciliation attempts among them went in vain. Police arrested and jailed the poor innocent Catholics. She arranged a lawyer to take up their case. Through her intervention they were released from the prison. This made the opponents furious, and her enemies decided to get rid of her. They waited for an opportunity to do away with her.The people came to Sr. Rani Maria and the Priest-in charge of that mission station to get some legal help to fight their case in the court. She interfered in that and helped to release these people from the prison. Of course this angered the other people and they were waiting for an opportunity to kill her. When the opponents came to know that on 25th February, she will be leaving to Kerala, they made the plot to kill her. As she was travelling by the bus called ‘Kapil', through a forest road she was stabbed to death in the daylight in front of the passengers. She had 54 injuries on her body. She died calling out the name of Jesus. On the third of the murder, the persecutors were caught and the executor of the murder, Mr. Samunder Singh was sentenced for life- imprisonment.. The post-mortem report registered 40 major injuries besides 14 bruises. Unto the last breath she kept on saying “Jesus! Jesus!”. None of the passengers dared to come to her rescue. Most of them ran away. The Martyrdom of Sr. Rani Maria was the result of her participation in the mission of Jesus.
Sr. Rani Maria was killed both for the proclamation of faith through the evangelization, and for the truth of faith lived heroically in charity to the poor. It was her ardent desire to proclaim Jesus to all. Her heroic charity of fighting for truth and justice for the downtrodden in the society led her to martyrdom. Her proclamation of faith authenticated with life witness was a threat to Jeevan Singh, because people were getting attracted to Christianity. She lived her faith joyfully and proclaimed the Gospel giving witness to the infinite charity of God dedicating her life to achieve the integral growth of the poor.Her tomb at Udainagar and monument at the spot where she was found dead remains as a sign of love, service and sacrifice. Her memory remains as a powerful symbol of Christian love for the weak and the oppressed. Sr. Rani Maria is still alive, bringing even the conversion in the life of her assassin. As it is said in Lumen Gentium no. 42, martyrdom is the highest gift of God and the greatest human offering of life in the Church. It is an expression of the intimate union with God and the humanity. The martyrdom of Sr. Rani Maria is a great gift of God especially to the Indian Church.