In the Service of the Word of God
His entry into the official life was as a Professor of Sacred Scripture and spiritual Director. As a teacher he was held in high esteem and respect in the Sacred Heart seminary at Chethipuzha and Dharmaram College, Bangalore. Even after his retirement he taught Bible with zeal and devotion in private and semi-official institutions. Above all, the Holy Bible became an invariable part of his life. His exhortations, speeches and conversations were all ‘Word based.’ He was devoted to the Word of God and committed himself to the service of the Word of God until he breathed his last.
Apostolate of Administration
Rev. Fr. Canisius, though in humility considered himself as not an able leader or administrator, was elected to and entrusted with many administrative posts in the CMI Congregation. His services as Seminary Rector (1960-1966), Prior General (1966-1972), Provincial (1972-1975), Dharmaram Superior (1975-1978), CMI Vicar General (1978-1981) were glorious and praiseworthy. He devoted himself to the renewal of the CMI congregation rooted in the charism of the founding fathers in the light of the Vatican Council II documents. He was successful in guiding the congregation and making it relevant in its life and ministries for the Glory of the God and the well-being of all. The quality of service and leadership that he rendered to the Church and members of religious communities was invaluable. However, what he wrote down in assessment of them all towards his twilight years was a confession of the shortcomings in his administrative services: “it is really true that unwittingly and owing to my weak character, lack of intelligence and observation, I have caused pain to my brethren. I know I am indeed a culprit to wait for their judgment at the seat of their justice. I am, however, hopeful that the eyes of mercy of God, the Father and my brethren will fall on me.” What is evident here is the humility of a saintly religious soul who was successful in giving able spiritual and religious leadership to the congregation.
Apostolic Delegate
In recognition of Fr. Canisius’ effective religious leadership, he was appointed as the Apostolic Delegate (1972) of the society of Catholic Medical Mission (MMS) and delegate of the Oriental Congregation (1974) to the Congregation of Sacred Heart. Relying on divine assistance, Fr. Canisius could help both Congregations in their growth and development. He took great pains to visit all the convents of sisters, discussed the issues with them and submitted a report with suggestions for the growth of these Congregations. As the delegate of the Oriental Congregation to the Congregation of Sacred Heart, he was entrusted with the arduous job of uniting the different branches of the sisters of Sacred Heart. He did it in a wonderful way by unifying the independent houses governed by a common Constitution.
Missionary Zeal
It was during his tenure of office as Prior General and later as General councilor for missions that CMI mission activities were extended to Sagar and Jagdalpur in Madhya Pradesh and Bijinor in Uttarakhand. While in charge of formation of students of the seminary he gave leadership to conduct various programmes to generate real missionary zeal and enthusiasm among the students. He took particular interest in celebrating Mission Sunday in Seminary. This is indeed a splendid example of his zeal. His efforts along this line are well reflected in the mission-vitality the Congregation manifests today.
Twilight Years
On April 4, 1975, Fr.Canisius wrote to the then CMI Prior General, Rev.Fr. Theobald: “I know that we have to witness to the life of simplicity and sincerity and self-sacrificing service of Christ. I have placed this ideal before myself and before others. But I have not been able to influence the individuals or communities entrusted to me to take the risk and start such witnessing because, as I said, I lack that experience of Christ to be expressed in its communicative, inspiring and animating power.” And then he added: “My positive request is that I may be allowed to spend a considerable period of time - at least one year - in prayer, penance and humble service in an atmosphere that gives witness to the simplicity of life and poverty of Christ.” Father General responded: “I have only great admiration for the ideals and aspirations you have indicated, but in the interests of our Congregation the spirit has moved us to place you in a position where you will be able to inspire at least a section of our members with the ideals spoken of,” and then he appointed him as Superior, Professor and Spiritual master at Dharmaram College (1975-1978).

In 1978 he was elected to the post of the Vicar General of the Congregation. After three years as Vicar General, Rev Fr Thomas Aykara CMI, the then Prior General, granted permission for Fr Canisius to spend time in prayer and recollection at the newly established Sakshatkara, Centre for Spiritual Realization at Pariyaram, Chalakudy. Fr Canisius was deeply involved in the vision, mission and establishment of this centre. From 1981-1996 Fr. Canisius spent time in prayer, preaching retreats, and in giving spiritual guidance. Besides his Eucharistic Celebration, Canonical prayers and other spiritual exercises required by the CMI Constitution, he spent at least five hours in silent prayer daily before the Blessed Sacrament, during those fifteen years. He found delight in prayer and often said that prayer was his rest. Those who had come for spiritual renewal and realization, mostly priests and religious sisters and also local people, were taken up by the wisdom and holiness of Fr. Canisius.

Besides ailments typical of age, in 1984 he was affected with rheumatic arthritis called ‘amavatham’ in Ayurvedic medicine. Besides its acute pain, he caught spondylitis as well. Consequently he was unable to walk, sit, eat, write and even take bath on his own. In 1995 he became a hepatitis patient. His cup of suffering was full. He was then transferred to St Theresa’s Monastery, Ampazhakad.

During the last days of his life his spiritual daughters frequently visited him, and according to his desire the sisters used to sing out the song Come, come Lord Jesus. To those who asked him what song he liked to hear, he, without hesitation answered joyfully: Come, come Lord Jesus. Fr. Canisius sang with them. Those who stood nearby experienced that he sang with his heart and soul, as if his whole person had become one with that invocation. They felt that the holy man was inviting his beloved Lord to come and get him to the eternal abode. As the singers came to the last lines, his voice became more and more inaudible. He dozed off, as if he had entered into a trance (samadhi). Even on January 28, the last evening of his life on earth the sisters sang that song in the company of Fr.Canisius. Later he told one of his spiritual sons: “The time has come for my departure; my end has come”. On January 29, 1998 he set out his journey to the heavenly mansion prepared for him by his Master, Jesus the Lord. The following day his mortal body was laid to rest at St. Theresa’s Monastery at Ampazhakad. The funeral ceremonies were officiated by Mar James Pazhayattil, Bishop of Irinjalakuda and Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, Archbishop of Thrissur.

Though his mortal remains were interred, he is still alive in the loving memory of those who had acquaintance with him during his earthly sojourn. What he had left for the members of his community in the form of a Testament in 1990 is equally inspiring for anyone who wishes to grow in the path of perfect obedience to the Will of God: “…despite our insignificance, foolishness, ignorance and immaturity, when one is resolutely committed to do it, it is quite possible with God’s help, to lead a life with a pure heart, cheerful face and innocence in God’s presence, closely observing the values of religious life. This I pass on to my brethren in all joy.” Indeed Fr Canisius led a heroic life with pure heart, cheerful face and innocence in God’s presence, fulfilling “God’s will… that alone … that in full”.