The village Muttuchira became world famous with the fragrance of the saintly life of St. Alphonsa. Muttuchira is a small section of the Kottayam District in the state of Kerala to the south west of India.
The etymology of ‘Muttuchira’ is quite interesting. As the area was mostly of plains with low altitude, people of the locality used to cultivate paddy in the fields by fixing up ‘prop’ (Muttu) and ‘barrage’ (Chira) to store water for cultivation. Hence the term Muttuchira.
In 1742 King Marthanda Varma conquered the kingdom of Vadakkumkur which was ruled by the local king Mamalassery Kaimal. He brought the first Christian family to that place and gave them land to settle down in the market area of Muttuchira. Thereafter a lot of Christians from Kodungalloor, Paravoor, and Palayoor etc. settled there increasing the number of the Christians in Muttuchira.
The magnificent church in the Roman architectural style at Muttuchira was built about 150 years back. An ancient Persian Cross decorates the wall of the old church. The main attraction of the church is its lofty tower.
Muttuchira has got an important role in moulding St. Alphonsa. The mother house of the saint viz. ‘Puthukari family’ was located in ‘Valachira’ under Muttuchira parish. Of the two daughters born of Luca – Aley couples of Puthukari family; the elder one Annamma was married to Pailochan of Murickan family in Muttuchira parish itself. The younger one Mary was married to Muttathupadathu Pazhooparampil Joseph of the Kudamalur parish. St. Alphonsa was born as the fourth child of the couples Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu.
Because of the untimely death of her mother soon after her birth, Alphonsa was brought up by her maternal aunt Annamma in the Murickan house Muttuchira, during her infancy. After completing her class III in Arpookkara Thonnankuzhy Govt. L. P. School (Kudamalur), St. Alphonsa continued her studies in Muttuchira Govt. School. During this period, St. Alphonsa was under the tutelage of Annamma Murickan. She received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Muttuchira church on 21st January, 1925 along with other 421 children from Mar Thomas Kurialasserry Bishop of Changanacherry.
Muttuchira and St. Alphonsa are two inter related names written in golden letters in the annals of history. The Murickan house where St. Alphonsa lived stands today as a living monument of her saintly life. The house which was built in 1840 is still kept and maintained in its original state. The family prayer room, the cot and other objects which our saint used, the historical ash pit in which she burned her legs to destroy her beauty so as to escape the imminent marriage, the stone tub that was used to treat her burned legs, the well from which she drew water etc. reminisce one of her virtuous and heroic life. Till 2009 this house was owned by the descendants of Annamma Murickan. Now the house and the surrounding plot of land are in the safe keeping of the FCC Alphonsa Province Pala who maintains it as a sacred pilgrim centre. The devotees who visit the tomb of the Saint and the Convent at Bharananganam prefer to visit Muttuchira too. The small village of Muttuchira now stands as the glorious memorial of the holy life of St. Alphonsa.