Friday, January 30, 2009

Pennamma: MM's Wife

MM fell in love with Ms. Elizabeth Thomas (Pennammma was her pet name) in 1934. They took a wedding oath in 1939 and got married in 1945. They had a beautiful partnership in life. She was a college teacher and a woman of high intellect and wisdom. Pennamma and MM have three children: Thampy, Kurien and Shamala.

In August 1968 she was diagnosed as having cancer. It was a big shock to the entire family. At that point of time she was only 50 years old and MM was 54. After diagnosis, an operation was performed on her followed by Cobalt therapy in Vellore Christian Medical College. After three months she came back home (Maliackel, Manjadi, Tiruvalla: now the home is known in her name as Pennamma Bhavanam). Unfortunately the illness intensified and she was administered radiation therapy many times. The last time she was admitted in Vellore was on 8 December 1969. And she passed away on 22 December 1969 at 3.30 pm.

Pennamma used to write her musings while she was ill. After her demise, MM found the notes and showed it to Mr. T.K. Thomas and eventually her faith reflections were published in English as a book titled Joyful and Triumphant (CLS), edited by Mr. T.K. Thomas. The book was translated into Malayalam (by Ms. Leelamma Athyal) and published under the title, Jayikkunna Viswasam (Triuphant Faith) in 1971. The book contains nine thoughts written by Pennamma between 20 November and 6 December 1969. The malayalam book also consists of MM's preface and conversations with pennamma. MM also reflects on her demise in the last chapter. The book is about love, faith, death and eternity.
Thomas, T.K. (Ed.) 1997 (1971). Jayikkunna Viswasam: Sreemathi Elizabeth Thomasinte Viswasa Sakshyam. Tiruvalla: CSS (Second Edition), Pp. 113.

"So I Cherished the Old Rugged Cross

Where My Burdens Some Day I Lay Down

And I Cling to the Old Rugged Cross

And Exchange It Some Day for a Crown"
[From a devotional song Pennamma used to sing quite often. See page 54 of the book]

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