A saintly life brightened by the extraordinary love of God and men, a glorious life raised to holiness through self-emptying, suffering and total dedication, an extraordinary personality who put into practice his motto God is my Hope, a person who surrendered himself totally to God living out the Gospel principle not mine, but your will be done (Lk. 22, 42), a great devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who found shelter in the tranquil and humble love of His Sacred Heart. It is none other than the Servant of God MAR MATHEW MAKIL.
Mathaikunju was born in Manjoor as the third son of Thomman and Anna, Makil Puthenpurayil on 27th March 1851. As his parents were highly spiritual, an aptitude for spiritual life developed in the boy from his childhood. Even as a young boy he had an aptitude for priesthood. He began the study of Syriac from Mannanam Seminary, and was sent to Puthenpally seminary in Varapuzha for higher studies. Bro. Mathew Makil was ordained priest by Bishop Leonard Mellano, the then Vicar Apostolic of Varapuzha on 30th May 1874.
While Fr. Mathew was the vicar of Kaipuzha, on 25th December 1885, he was appointed as the secretary to Bishop Marcellinos Barardy, the then auxiliary bishop of Varapuzha. In this position he was appreciated by many for his consciousness, responsibility, discipline, truthfulness and fidelity. Bishop Charles Lavinge was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of the Vicariate of Kottayam on 20th May 1887 and he made Fr. Mathew Makil the Vicar General for Southist Catholics in 1889 as their promoter and care-taker.
Fr. Mathew Makil had a dream to found a congregation for the Southist Catholic women. By this he wanted to offer an opportunity for those who wished to lead a dedicated and holy life. Through this he aimed at the spiritual and secular growth of the girls which he knew would enable the holistic development of the community as well as the Church. As the fulfillment of his dream, with the permission and blessings of Bishop Charles Levinge, Msgr. Mathew Makil founded the Visitation Congregation in Kaipuzha on 24th June 1892 on the day of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Msgr. Mathew Makil was made the Vicar Apostolic of the Vicariate of Changanasserry on 28th July 1896 by Pope Leo XIII. In spite of many adversities, he led proudly this Vicariate for the next 15 years. As the true disciple of Jesus he served the Church.
He published The Book of Decrees in 1904 and it contained the laws, regulations and orders of the diocesan administration in a disciplined way. He wrote 41 Pastoral Letters and for the orderly and disciplined teaching of catechism he published The Summary of the Christian Catechism in 1909. It must be noted that he took interest in the field of ecumenism even when he was the Vicar General.
St. Pius X, through His Apostolic Letter In Universi Christiani, erected the Vicariate of Kottayam on 29th August 1911 for the Knanaya Community and Bishop Mathew Makil was appointed as its first Vicar Apostolic.
Mar Mathew Makil, the one instrumental for the erection of the diocese of Kottayam, could serve her only for four years. He passed away on 26th January 1914 in the presence of his brother Fr. Joseph, his secretary Fr. Chandy and many other priests. His revered tomb is at Edackat Forane church.
The life of the Servant of God Mar Mathew Makil was an extraordinary one and the Almighty showered abundant graces upon him. When Pope Pius X came to know the demise of Mar Makil, he wrote: Mar Mathew Makil died not because he was aged but out of the heaviness of his saintliness.
Mar Mathew Makil was raised the Servant of God on 26th January 2009. Since then commemorative services and death anniversaries are conducted in his honour every year from 18th to 26th January. Many come to his tomb to seek his intercession and are blessed with many favours.
Mar Makil Musem