Alphonsamma, as she was locally known, had a poor, difficult childhood and experienced early loss and suffering. She joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, and through them completed schooling and made her permanent vows in 1936. She taught school for years but was plagued by illness.
Claims of her intervention began almost immediately upon her death, and often involved the children in the convent school where she had taught. The cause of Sister Alphonsa began on 2 December 1953 in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Palai and she was declared a Servant of God. She was declared Venerable on 9 July 1985 by Pope John Paul II. Her beatification was declared 8 February 1986 by Pope John Paul II at
Hundreds of miraculous cures are claimed for her intervention, many of them involving straightening of clubbed feet, possibly because of her having lived with deformed feet herself. Two of these cases were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints as proof of her miraculous intervention. The continuing cures are chronicled in the magazine PassionFlower.
Last Sunday, 12 October 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced her canonization at a ceremony at St Peter's Square.