On March 14th 2013, SCNs at Nazareth Campus gathered outside the Mokama chapel to launch a year of retreats. Carrying out the mandate given at Province Assembly 2012, the Province Leadership of Bangalore and Patna Provinces appointed a Resource Committee to put together materials based on SCN Constitutions, Scripture, Assembly Proposals and the challenges that emerged from the Scientific Survey of the Province. The first of these retreats was held at Mokama March 14-21 and members of the Nazareth Convent and Ashirvad North local communities entered into the experience of the workshop. The theme of the retreat was: Rekindling our zeal towards Transformation in SCN life and Mission.
Seventeen members participated in the retreat. After a two day workshop which prepared the participants for the retreat itself, members prayed, reflected, discussed on topics such as the historical, social economic and religious context of Asia/India. This was in keeping with the call of the Assembly to look at ways of how the SCNs in these provinces can reflect the spirituality of Asia/India in their life styles, prayer forms and formation. Other topics included bridging the inter-cultural and inter-generational gaps, embracing our cultural diversity, befriending our growing edges, examining our prophetic zeal and challenging ourselves to minister at the margins. The concluding sessions were on the spirit of Vincent, Catherine and the the Charism of Charity.
Written by: SCNs Marceline Indwar and Shalini D’Souza
Impelled by the Love of Christ, SCN educators form God centered persons of character, compassion and competency, who will contribute to build a just and harmonious society and thus become agents of transformation.
The paradigm shift expected of the SCN educators and their teaching and non-teaching staff, students and their parents is to become agents of transformation; to move away from selfish intellectual giants to sensitive human beings who can reach out, bring peace, touch and heal the broken world.
Forty-four SCN educators and 13 Novices gathered at Mokama for the education ministry meeting from December 29-31. The theme was — ‘Education for Peace and Nation Building’.
Basanti Lakra, SCN, Patna Provincial, spoke on the role of educators as evangelizers to become ‘Good News’, to be deeply committed, to be creative in teaching, collaborative and net working in ministry.
Through PowerPoint presentations, videos, songs, dialogue, personal reflections, buzz sessions and small group sharing Sister Marianne Puthoor, Province Education Coordinator, helped the participants to have clear, broad and deep understanding of education, peace, and nation building.
The Resource Team, SCNs Mary Grace Xalxo, Maxima Bara, and Rashmi Toppo gave inputs on the prevailing concerns of our society: injustice, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, atrocities against women, violence; levels of peace and how to help the staff and students to achieve it; democracy; fundamental duties and rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution; declaration of Vatican II on Christian education; goal and mission of our education according to Education Policy 2007; the stark educational scenario in our country including the dropouts and the depleting the resources of the earth, harmful effects of pollution and human greed.
After each presentation, the participants reflected, discussed and shared the role of education to bring about transformation of peace and brother/sisterhood in the unjust, corrupt and violent society and to care for and preserve mother earth and environment for our future generations.
The participants wrote the SCN Vision for education. In the ten small groups, the participants came up with concise, concrete suggestions based on SMART Theory to be implement the vision in our educational institutions in the year 2013.
Written by: Marianne Puthoor, SCN
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Sisters Jackulin Jesu, Rena Simon Fernandes and Shanti James celebrated their Silver Jubilee during the Eucharistic celebration held at Mokama on December 1, the SCN Foundation Day. The Jubilarians were given a corsage and tikka as they entered the chapel. Sisters Basanti Lakra and Philomena Kottoor, Province Leadership Team, (PLT) led them to the Church with the rhythm of an entrance dance by the Novices. Father Alwyn D’ Sousa, SJ blessed the 100 - Sisters, Candidates and Novices with an arati and each of them lighted the lamp.
With the chiming of the bells in the background, Suchita Kullu, SCN in the introduction to the Eucharist said, “It is a great honor and privilege to welcome each of you, on the Foundation Day of our Congregation and the new beginning of SCN Formation in Botswana. We are here to thank God for last wonderful 25 years of dedicated service of our beloved Sisters Jacky, Rena and Shanti. The theme- ‘All For Thee’ is very apt and appealing to the lives of these Sisters. We rejoice with you for the marvelous deeds that God has done through you for the last 25 years in the best and the worst, in the opportune and the most adverse circumstances of your life. We wish to thank you in a special way, today, for the most remarkable ways you have extended your loving service to the Province in particular and the universal Church, in general.”
After the communion, the Candidate, Pinty Nilam Digal danced in thanksgiving for the many blessings. At the end of the Mass the Jubilarians were garlanded and congratulated in the chapel itself. With the beating of the drums and traditional Tribal dance, the Sisters led them to cut the Jubilee Cake and for supper.
In the evening, the Candidates and Novices entertained the Jubilarians and the Sisters with a wonderful cultural program.
In thanking the PLT, Sisters, Novices, and Candidates, Sister Shanti said, “The people who make difference in your life are not the ones with most awards. Life is full of ordinary people who have made the world a better place for you and me. And today, we remember with love and gratitude all those persons who have made a difference in our lives. First in our mind is our God, the compassionate presence, for giving us life and constant companionship during these past 25 years. With immense gratitude we remember our parents, brothers, sisters and relatives who loved us and nourished us and instilled in us the values of love, kindness, generosity and planted the seeds of faith. We are truly honored because of them.
We consider this a great privilege that we were called to SCN way of life. In our teens we came here and it was here that we were nurtured, molded and groomed to be women of faith and women on mission. As we thank all of you, our SCN Family, we, especially thank our Formators- Sisters Olive Pinto, Mary Joseph Pamplaniel, Marcelline Indwar, Josita Eniakattu and Anne Marie Thayilchirayil for loving us, guiding us and helping us in our growth. We remember with pride our PLT who saw the potential in us and helped us to bloom and supported and empowered us in our mission.”
Malini Manjoly, SCN
Around 200 couples gathered from the 34 parishes of the Archdiocese of Patna to conclude the Year of the Family at Jyoti Bhavan, Mokama from November 23-24. Most Rev. Archbishop William D’ Souza asked the faithful to remember the deceased members of the Archdiocese for we are witnesses to their lived faith.
“The Year of the Family has been a new beginning for awareness to increase faith among Christian families,” said the Prelate. We are here to experience God and be a blessing for our families, he further said.
“Through workshops on family evangelization and vocation promotion by ‘Couples for Christ’ families became strong in their faith”, said Father Jose Edavazhy, the Chairperson for Family Commission of the Archdiocese. Every parish celebrated family day with cooperation and contributions from people.
The emphasis on family prayer and the common prayer for the Year of the Family brought many families to pray together in their homes. “The Archdiocese directed us to give importance to daily family prayer”, said Barh Catechist, Amalkanth.
John Jerome and Alphonsa Devi, a couple from Nawada parish said, “We are a peace loving family and we said the common family prayer daily”.
The group took out a candle light procession to the famous ‘Our Lady of Divine Grace’ shrine by praying rosary.
In conclusion the Prelate aid, “We have received faith as a gift from God mainly at the time of Baptism. Family is a school from where children learn about faith and parents are the nurturers of faith. Sacraments received become further nourishment for faith”.
Family is an altar from which we can reach out to others with love and gratitude. Thirteen priests, many religious sisters also were present for the two-day concluding program.
Malini Manjoly, SCN
Mokama Parish inaugurated the Year of Faith with 17 children receiving first Holy Communion during the Sunday liturgy on October 14. During the three months of sacramental preparation these children and their families were led into the mysteries of our faith through input sessions, personal contacts, family visits and prayer. The children and the parents actively participated in the liturgy giving witness to their faith. The celebrants of the liturgy, Fathers Nelsen D’Silva and Dominic,K.P. made it very prayerful and devotional through their inspiring homily and prayers. Many parishioners were present for the Mass to encourage the children. Indeed the seed of faith is alive and active in the parish!
“Door of faith is always open for us”, says our Holy Father Benedict XV1. He has invited each of us during this year of faith to build up our faith by studying, learning and meditating on the mysteries of faith that we believe and to bear witness by sharing it with our brothers and sisters around us. It was a joyful privilege for me to share my faith with these children and their families.
Jane Karakunnel, SCN
Fifteen Senior Sisters (70+) gathered for a day to reminisce and celebrate their growing years of grace at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on October 9. Ancilla Kozhipatt, SCN, gave the input on aging and discussed with the members how to safeguard their health as they age. Sister Ancilla was congratulated on her 75th Birthday with a delicious meal.
The group had lots of fun in singing, playing Bingo and other games. The seniors were glad that all the Golden Jubilarians especially Margaret Rodericks, SCN, were present.
Anne Marie Thayilchirayil, SCN
Continuing in the mood of the Theological reflections earlier, 27 Local Community Coordinators deliberated upon what they can do to create a sense of reverence for one another and all of creation and for sacred times in their communities at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on October 7 & 8.
Sister Basanti Lakra, Provincial and the Board Members informally shared the most recent happenings in the Province and especially of Nazareth Hospital, Mokama.
Based on the call of the Eastern Province Assembly 2012 and the recent Theological Reflections on ‘a new way of being women religious in the Asian context’, the Team presented in detail the goals and objectives of the Patna Province for the next five years. The Local leaders took time to go over it and shared their views and clarifications were made.
The Leadership invited the coordinators to develop a contemplative attitude and stillness in our lives. In order to become God seekers along with our people on the margins we are called to practice asceticism in our daily life.
Sister Priya Kalapurackal concluded the sessions with a symbolic prayer in a circular movement inviting the sisters to go forth in love and unity with one another and the whole Congregation.
Our religious vocation begins and ends in the desire for God, said Sister Shalini Mulackal, PBVM, the resource person for the one and a half-day Theological reflection on ‘a new way of being women religious in the Asian context’ held at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on October 6-7. Responding to the call of the Eastern Province Assembly 2012, around 70 SCNs and Novices actively participated in this interactive theological reflection.
Sister Shalini taught us the ABCDs of religious life. She took us backward and forward to our foundational experiences of God and community. Like a fire blower on the embers of fire covered in ashes with warmth, she led us through the disturbing contexts both outside and within. She took us through the jungles of our exiled parts and brought us safe to our essence — SELF. Sister Shalini motivated us to be serious about our quest for God — to be God seekers and sharers. She made us aware of the goodness of silence, stillness and contemplation.
We were challenged us through her critical hard questions. She stirred us out of our inertia to be prophets, to be authentic and faithful to our call — the tools to build a sacred community within. This will enable us to create a similar one outside and thus become a new way of being a religious today.
As religious, we are called to create communities from diversity and to celebrate our differences. We are invited to move from hierarchical to horizontal ways of relating to one another. As disciples of Jesus, our Guru, our response to the evils of today must be non-violent. Non-violence requires that we befriend our own darkness and brokenness rather than projecting it on to others. We are called to resist harmful behaviour without retaliation.
In conclusion, we were invited to look forward to a future full of hope in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Joyful hope is genuine discipleship. The two-day reflection filled us with a deep sense of joy and gratitude for our call to be Beloved daughters of God with a prophetic voice for the marginalized. Being God realized women and accompanied on this journey by God and others in community, we help all our fellow God seekers on this sacred journey. Sister Shalini helped us to believe that a new way is possible.
Jane Karakunnel, SCN
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SCNs Margaret Rodericks, Marietta Saldanha and Mary Scaria Menonparambil celebrated their Golden Jubilee at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on October 5. The main celebrant, Father Alwyn D’Souza, SJ, concelebrated the jubilee Mass with two other priests of Mokama campus.
Sister Margaret gave the reflection during the Mass. (Click here to read it.)
The deep felt joy of the Jubilarians were expressed by Sister Marietta in her concluding prayer during the liturgy: “...we lift our hearts in gratitude for all the graces and blessings that you have bestowed upon us these past 50 Golden years. We thank you in particular, for those who have been your instruments in our spiritual development, formation and education which have moulded and shaped us into who we are today. As we walk into the future, we ask you to continue to journey with us till we attain the fullness of life with you. We make this prayer through your son and Mary our mother.”
After the Mass, Sisters Margaret, Marietta and Mary Scaria were garlanded. Each member present in the chapel congratulated them and led them in a dance procession to cut the jubilee cake.
In the evening, the Novices, candidates and the Chatra community gave a very entertaining cultural program. The last surprise item for the program was sharing of memories by the Jubilarians!
It was indeed a great day of joy for both the jubilarians and the 150 Sisters, Novices and candidates present to share the golden years of blessings of our dear Sisters Margaret, Marietta and Mary Scaria.
Malini Manjaly, SCN
June 05, 2012 | Mokama
On June 2nd, fifteen SCNs - Sisters Anne Elizabeth, Teresa Velloothara, Elizabeth Emmanuel, Ann George, Xavier Valiakunnackal, Marietta Saldanha, Sophia Klapurakal, Shalini D’Souza, Mary Juliana, Celine Arackathottam, Mary Stella Ambrose, Rosemarie Lakra, Teresa Xavier Ponnazhath, Lucia Thuluvanicke and Karuna Thottumarickal gathered in the conference room at Nazareth Convent, Mokama to celebrate their 70 plus years of life and to share memories of “growing gracefully” into retirement. The theme chosen was: Growing Into Wholeness.
The morning began with welcoming Sister Mary Elizabeth Miller, president, Sisters Basanti Lakra, provincial of the Patna Province and Sister Ann Palatty, provincial of the Bangalore Province.
Participants were then led in prayer which was conducted by Sister Jyoti Thattaparampil. All took time to reflect on the Scripture Reading – John 20: 19-23 and its meaning at this time in their life’s journey.
The president – Sister Mary Elizabeth – then addressed the group. She spoke of the gratitude that fills her heart as she looked at the group – gratitude for the years of selfless service, and the witness of their lives. She invited the group to be mentors, models for those who will follow them and assured them of her own support in their journey. The two provincials then blessed the group and assured them that they remain open to suggestions and recommendations as to how they could accompany them in their struggles and joys.
Sister Lucia , facilitator of the day, then initiated conversation among the participants by inviting them to form groups and share how they experienced God presently in their lives. Members broke into groups of five and took more than an hour to share life stories of joy and challenges as they learnt to embrace this time of their journey.
The group then took a tea break and after the tea break returned to have large group sharing. Goals that emerged from the sharing are:
- To foster the desire that has emerged for continued bonding
- To set aside time at least twice a year to gather, share and continue the conversation in area groups – Ranchi and Mokama and to plan the next gathering for October of this year after the Theological Reflection
- To connect with each other through phone calls – on birthdays or when we are ill, etc., - and to choose prayer partners amongst ourselves.
- To initiate a Newsletter – “Pearls of Wisdom” on our feast day September 27th.
A festive supper was then held to close a memorable and historic day.
Sahlini D’Souza, SCN
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The Province Leadership Team of Bangalore Province, Sisters Ann Palatty, Sheela Palamoottil, Beena Chirackal and Blanche Francis Coreia and of the Patna Province, Basanti Lakra, Philomena Kottoor, Amelia Moras, Aisha Kavalakattu and Priya Kalapurayil assumed leadership during the morning liturgy at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on June 1.
Sister Elveera Pereira, in her introduction to the Mass said, “This is a significant moment in the life of our Provinces and one that is also historical in every sense. Leadership is indeed set in history. As we look back we see how God chooses, appoints and uses leadership. When God wanted to lead the people out of Israel, he chose someone like Moses, when God wanted to put them in Israel, God raised Joseph. Later God raised up a Daniel who worked 80 years in the lives of God’s people, through five dynasties and two different empires to care for them. God works in amazing ways!
In February, the Eastern Province gathered to discern and to decide on leadership into the next five years. God, at this moment of history, has appointed you, to lead us whether out of Israel or into Israel, we know not. But we do know that it is for the next 5 years and not 80 to care and nourish the Bangalore and Patna Provinces of India and the region of Nepal.
In this time and moment of history then, YOU have been called forth to lead the Bangalore and Patna Provinces and in turn to call forth the gifts of the membership of these Provinces to be: signs for the world to come, bringers of peace, women who seek justice so as to create a human community and most of all women who are faithful to immersion in the Spirit and open to the call of God so that we can risk our lives and resources for the sake of the mission of Christ.
This is not an easy task in a world that so often fails to recognize the oneness of creation and a wholeness that reflects the face of God. However, our faith in the Spirit and your leadership at this time, in addition to your love of the Congregation and the mission of Jesus through the Charism of Catherine empowers you to define for all of us what it means to be women religious in the Asian context.
May these years of leadership deepen your Charity, Spirituality and call you to be of compassionate heart. May you speak with the voice of the voiceless and give courage to those in pain and need. May you be strong to care-front injustice and may the diversity of our membership enrich your world and expand it. May you be the sustenance of the elderly and the support of the young in the Provinces. May your vision be fulfilled in company with us and may you find support in your struggle and friends to rejoice with you.
This is what you are invited to today. May God who has chosen you for this ministry graciously dwell in you, as you attempt to respond to God’s call and the invitation of the Province. Like Mary may you be blessed for you have believed and in faith said Yes”
At the end of the liturgy, for handing over of authority to the new leaders, Sisters Mary Elizabeth Miller and Sangeeta Ayithamattam called both Ann and Basanti by name and said: “With this staff, we empower you to lead us forward into the future. May the roads you choose be blessed with many graces. In times of difficulties may God’s wisdom permeate your heart. May compassion be your guide and friends at your side to support you in good and challenging times.
This staff – a symbol of shepherding influence – that of hearing the voice of the flock, searching for the lost and always alert to the voice of a God who has anointed and chosen you this day be your sustenance always.
Like Abram, Moses, and Jeremiah, may you lead us in and out of Israel and through the passages of pain and joy resting in a God that does amazing things for those who believe.”
Sister Reena Theruvankunnel handed over the Word of God and the SCN Constitution to Sisters Philomena and Sheela with these words: “May the Word of God – and the word of our Ancestors – SCN Women who have gone before us – give you the courage you need to be a voice for the voiceless. May you be blessed with a compassionate heart to hear those in need and to care-front injustices within the community and in society. May your time in leadership help us to develop our prophetic zeal and spirituality for our people. Like Jesus may you show us the way - so that we may bring about the Reign of our God.”
Sister Ann George Mukalel assisted by Josita Eniakattu, Cecily Velleringatt and Jackulin Jesu handed over salt and light to Sisters Amelia, Aisha, Priya, Blanche and Beena with these words: “You have been called to assist and to promote to give flavor and to light the way. May this salt be for you a reminder of your role as you assist the PLT to lead the Province in these coming years! The “Light” is the grace we wish for you; the grace of wisdom, encouragement and courage. May your leadership in the Team be for the Province a model of working together towards the good of the Church, Congregation and our people wherever we serve.”
Malini Manjoly, SCN
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Around one hundred SCNs gathered to express gratitude to the outgoing leadership team at Nazareth Convent, Mokama on May 31
The entire evening is summarized in the words of Sister Ann Palatty:
“Five years of faith, courage and wisdom, yes, the past five years have been yours with these noble qualities. You steered the boat of our present Eastern Province through times of calm weather, rough weather, and sometimes even Tsunamis.
Sangeeta, you began your journey as a leader (just four days after you assumed office) with the death and burial of Prema. And you almost ended your tenure by laying Pauline to rest. When I watched you standing beside Pauline’s coffin with a white handkerchief in your hand, these words came to my mind: “Woman, a sword shall pierce your own heart” – and many times all three of you, Sangeeta, Reena and Basant must have experienced that piercing through and through – when a dacoity took place in Sokho, when our sisters’ lives were threatened in Kathmandu, when Chatra Sisters longed for a drop of drinking water as their wells were all dried up, or when Shahpur was submerged in the flood waters, when Anakkampoil sisters cried bitter tears year after year waiting for the No Objection Certificate. All three of you spent sleepless nights in anxiety when our sisters suffered from life threatening illnesses like cancer or heart problems, or when some sisters had to deal with difficult decisions in their missions … the list could go on.
Not that you did not see any good days. They were abundant, too. Opening new ministries like Musunuru, expanding existing ones like Dharan, venturing into the unknown areas … they have been plenty – e.g. the collaborative efforts with the Forum for Domestic Workers at Catherine Spalding Centre in Ranchi, and the recently taken bold step to establish Nazareth Academy, Mokama, a long dreamt of English medium school, the untiring efforts to obtain recognition for the ICSE and CBSE schools in the South, to streamline efforts to expedite the process of recognition of the high schools in Jharkhand, to ensure the unity of ministry and community through the formation of the Inter-Ministry Board, launching a “Himalayan Region”, and never to undermine the gigantic task of forging two Provinces of Patna and Bangalore… just to mention a few from the ocean of achievements you had as leaders.
You stood with individuals and communities as they achieved great success – whether it be Asha Deepam, Trichy, getting the award of being the best Special School, or Amrita Manjoly being awarded as the best Matriculation School Principal, or Anjana Kunnath being chosen to spread the value of herbal medicine in the treatment of Malaria, or Joel Urumpil witnessing as an outstanding agent for social chang. You were there with each one and each mission in their alleluia.
Now that you look back to those five years, you can proudly say, “For all that has been, THANKS”, and we your sisters say ‘THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU’.
Sisters Ann George Mukalel, Josita Eniakattu, Philomina Kottoor, Cecily Vellerignatt and Jackulin Jesu, you deserve our sincere gratitude, too. With your backgrounds in education, health, social action, pastoral ministry, and formation, in rural ministry and urban ministry, you enriched the Province Board with your wide and varied experiences, bringing in the grass roots experiences into the Board, thereby enabling the PLT along with you to make well discerned decisions for the betterment of the Province. We acknowledge the tireless travels you undertook, the wisdom you shared, and the unity you manifested in leading the Province in the past five years. Thank you to each one of you.
Since in expression and poetry I cannot outdo the Scripture, let me conclude these words of gratitude in the words of St. Paul from his letter to the Philippians: (with the liberty of paraphrasing a few words and phrases) We thank our God every time we remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of our prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day of your leadership till now. It is right for us to think this way about all of you, because you hold us in your hearts…and this is our prayer that your love may overflow more and more with the knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory of God. May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
The evening ended with a colourful cultural program given by local communities, Temporary Professed and the Novices.
Malini Manjoly, SCN
A memorial Mass was offered for our dear Sister Patricia Mary (89) in the convent chapel in Mokama on April 26 at 9.30 am. The Eucharist was presided over by Father Joe Velankunnel, SJ and Father Sebastian Puthenpura. Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN Provincial, garlanded Sister Patricia’s photo and the Sisters, novices, hospital nurses and employees strewn petals of flowers.
For the introduction to the Mass Sister Sangeeta said, “We are gathered here this morning to pay our loving tribute and honor to a very dester, Sister Patricia Mary, as we lovingly called her while she was with us, a valiant woman of wisdom and ar sicreative energy. We have come because of our love and respect for her who has been the “Guru”, (novice director) and spiritual guide to many among us”.
First reading was an excerpt from the ‘Fifty Monsoons P. 158: In the ashram, the life of the Novices and Sister Patricia paralleled that of the sun for they had no electricity in Sokho. Kerosene lamps guided them by night. The Scripture chosen was Jn. 11: 17-26. There was no formal homily but sharing of memories of Sister Pat.
Sister Patricia Mary was a woman of grace. Sister Anne Marie Thayilchirayil said, “When Ann George Mukalel and I came as new candidates, Sister Patricia Mary taught us English at Nazareth Academy, Gaya. She taught us the prayer, ‘Hail Mary Full of Grace….’ Though I did not know much English, I understood the meaning of that prayer well by looking at her for she was a woman, full of grace.”
Sister Patricia was indeed a daring pioneer, a visionary filled with zeal for God and love for the poor, a woman ahead of her time. She was filled with the spirit of mission and saw God in and through the poor. Father Puthenpura said, “Sister Patricia lived with many inconveniences and possessed very little material goods but always had a bright smile on her face. She loved God and the poor. Sister had a hand in my formative years as a young priest, for I understood from her example that if I love God and serve the poor, I will have everything to be happy in life.”
She being a formator brought about a real paradigm shift in the formation program in the early 70s. Sister Patricia while in the formation cherished a long desired dream to bring about indigenization of the formation program, following the Indian spiritual tradition. She spent time with Vandana Mataji, an RSCJ sister in Rishikesh before she pioneered the ashram type of formation for the first year novices in Sokho village in a mud hut in 1975. The novices reached out to the neighbors in ministry as an integrated approach to formation.
Sister Lata Thurackal shared that Sister Patricia has played an important role in her life. She taught us, the novices, to do always little more than what we can do for God. While preparing us to teach catechism in the village, she taught us the song, ‘Jesus is our Rock’ translated into Hindi. Such was her fervor to reach out to the people.
Sister Marceline Indwar shared some of her memories of life at the ashram with Sister Patricia. Sister Pat was a woman of inculturation that she would translate all that she read into vernacular language, Hindi, to make others understand the deeper meaning of it. She was an embodiment of simplicity.
“Sister Patricia took the first initiative to carry stones after lunch in hot summer and the novices followed after her,” said Sister Philomena Kottoor.
Sister Patricia was a good listener and I found solace in sharing with her my life, said Mary Joseph.
Patricia Kelley, SCN was born on July 12, 1922 in Lexington, KY. She had three sisters and one brother and none are living. She entered the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth on September 24, 1940 and made first vows on March 25, 1942 and perpetual vows on July 19, 1945. She had been a Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 71 years.
With B. S. in Education, Sister Patricia taught for 10 years in Louisville and came to Gaya, India, in 1952 and taught 9 years. In 1961, she came to Mokama as sssistant to Sister Lawrencetta and Director of Temporary Professed Sisters till December 1967. Later, she served as Council Member and the Director of Education.
She was appointed as Novice Director in January 1968 and remained till July 1977. At the invitation of Jesuits, Sister Patricia went with Sister Olive Pinto to Nepal to explore the possibilities of ministry in 1977. She returned to US in July 1977.
After her return to the US, she continued to be bonded with the Eastern Province through her work with the mission education in schools from the Office of the Congregational Advancement.
In 1994-95 she came to India to gather resource materials for her book, ‘Fifty Monsoons’, published in 1999. Sister Patricia was in Mokama to celebrate the Golden Jubilee celebrations of our SCN foundation in India in 1997. She loved India, the SCNs and our ministries became part and parcel of her life; she was eager to get news of each one and about all that is going on in India.
Sister Liz Wendeln was sitting with Sister Pat when she passed away on April 24 at 12.40 am (US time). Sisters Margaret Rodericks and Hilda Lobo used to visit Sister Pat frequently. When any Indian Sisters visited her she wanted to know all about the Province Assembly 2012 and the changes taking place in the Eastern Province.
Sister Sangeeta concluded her words with, “On Friday when Sister Pat was told that all the Sisters from India sent her love and are praying for her, she said to tell everyone that she loves us all and will not forget the Sisters and again she said, I will not let them forget me. I know we won’t.”
We love you Pat and we thank you for your life. We are blessed by you – you are a solid foundation and inspiration to our life with and for the poor.
Malini Manjoly, SCN
Video from Sister Pat Kelley's funeral at Nazareth, Ky
In the Bicentennial year of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, (SCN), during its Province Assembly 2012 the sisters divided its Eastern Province in Patna into North and South. The decision was finalized in the 2008 General Assembly of the Congregation held in Bangalore.
The members of the Province elected Sister Basanti Lakra as Provincial elect of the North Province and Sister Ann Palatty as the South Provincial elect on February 14.
In India, there are 240 Sisters ministering all over India, Nepal and Botswana, Africa. The decision to divide into two Provinces was felt by its members in order to facilitate better governance and growth in all other aspects.
Sister Basanti hopes to strengthen and build up the SCN Local Communities to make them relevant for mission. She said, “I am open to embrace the newness of our time in a fast changing world”.
“I would like to begin the momentum of growth in the South Province”, said Sister Ann. Her immediate priorities for the newly formed South Province are to increase its membership and to explore possibilities for various ministries with the support and cooperation of all the Sisters in the Province. She hopes to be a leaven to uphold the oneness and unity of the two Provinces in India and to initiate Team Leadership.
Both Provinces are eager to focus on two of their priorities approved in the Province Assembly 2012, namely, to respond to the call to be a new way of being Women Religious in the Asian context and to take steps to rekindle the waning prophetic zeal of its members.
The Congregation founded in USA, in 1812, by Mother Catherine Spalding and Bishop John Baptist Marie David has its headquarters at Nazareth, Kentucky. Six American Sisters came to India in 1947 to begin a hospital at Mokama, Bihar. One of the pioneers is still in our midst.
The Sisters at present are engaged in various ministries in education, healthcare, social action, and pastoral care with an emphasis on care of the children in distress, including mentally and physically disabled, HIV/AIDS persons and women prisoners.
Malini Manjoly, SCN
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, (SCN) had the opening ceremony of their Bicentennial Year at Mokama on 3 December, with a live webcast from the US, Bostwana, Belize and Nepal simultaneously. To help unite the participants, all at the celebration were given small pieces of tree bark/leaves from the SCN ministry sites with the inscription of five names from the SCN Family Tree since its inception from 1812. The growth journey of the SCN Congregation founded in Kentucky, USA was narrated by members from Kentucky, Pittsburgh, India, Belize, Nepal and Botswana during the webcast. Watching the videos and photos from the SCN website, Mr. Chirendra Satyal, SCN Associate from Kathmandu said, “Our jubilee year is bound to be great”.
On 4 December, SCNs of Eastern Province had a Holy Eucharist with the parishioners, collaborators, co-workers and well wishers at Mokama. Most Rev. William D’Souza SJ, Archbishop of Patna, was the main celebrant. He exhorted the Sisters in his homily that they have been called to be the messengers of God. He further said just as mother pelican feeds its young her blood (SCN logo), the Sisters have left their family and loved ones to give their sweat and blood for the service of the people of God in different parts of India. Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN Provincial, thanked everyone who are part of the SCN journey in India and Nepal for extending their full hearted cooperation in the missions/ministry of the Eastern Province. In thanking God and the people, Sister Sangeeta asked the people to continue to pray for all the SCN members that they remain faithful to the charism handed over by their founder, Mother Catherine Spalding. After the Eucharist, one of the parishioners, Serphina Manuel said, “I am very happy to be part of this 64 year journey of the SCN Sisters”.
Throughout the world, SCN family members are involved in diverse ministries, meeting the needs of people in health, education, pastoral and social services. Just as Mother Catherine Spalding, the SCN founder had been recognized for her visionary leadership, the Sisters approach ministries today with that same mindset, with an eye on the needs of the times and the emerging trends of the future.
Six courageous SCNs from the US, Sisters Lawrencetta Veeneman, Florence Joseph Sauer, Cresentia Wise, Charles Miriam Holt, Ann Cornelius Curran and Ann Roberta Powers ventured across the ocean and came to India’s Gangetic plains in Mokama, Bihar in December 1947 to spread the charism of their founder. They began a pioneering rural health mission, Nazareth Hospital Mokama, to meet the various health needs of the people in 1948. Nazareth Hospital with its School of Nursing and Pharmacy has continued since then to serve the sick from many districts of Bihar and West Bengal, extending up to the border of Nepal. It became the first institution in Bihar to open a center, ‘NAI ASHA’ in 2004 under Bihar State Aids Control Society to admit and care for the HIV/ AIDS persons.
The various rural dispensaries and hospitals of the Sisters in India care for approximately 1,91,000 patients annually apart from caring for around 4000 HIV/AIDS patients. The SCN Sisters joined in full partnership with the Kurji Holy Family Hospital in 2000, the first of its kind in the history of the Church in Bihar.
With the arrival of new missionaries, the Sisters entered into the field of education and took up Nazareth Academy, Gaya, from the Loreto nuns in 1951 to nurture the intellectual potential of Bihar. Sister Ann Roberta Powers, one of the pioneers, continues to minister and live there.
The many skill training centers of the Sisters, train over 300 youth annually in computer education, typing, fashion designing, health assistant program, communicative English, mid-level social workers, office management and rural women leadership programme with placement opportunities. The Sisters are also involved in non- formal education for women and prepare the children for formal school as well as conduct special classes for school drop outs to complete their High School. The Sisters cater today to over 40,000 students through their formal and non-formal educational endeavors
The SCN Sisters serve around three lakhs of people in the social sector with over 750 self help groups for women and youth. The Sisters also minister to prisoners through skill training and literacy program, educate and empower the children of sex workers, and care for the mentally and physically differently abled children in India and Nepal.
As part of the Bicentennial celebrations in India, Sisters Elizabeth Emmanuel Vattakunnel, Philomena Kottoor and Celestine Reshma Pais planted a Rudraksha tree in the campus. Before the Eucharist, all watched a video presentation of our 200 years of faithful journey with an emphasis on India/Nepal missions prepared by Sisters Shalini D’Souza, Mary Margaret Nirmala (Nimmie) and Sunita Vayalipara in the chapel. Sr. Ann Roberta Powers released a music CD- ‘Nazareth ki Shaan’, composed by Sr. Rekha Kerketta, SCN. Students from various schools had a cultural program in the afternoon at Lawrencetta Hall, Nazareth Hospital Mokama. At the beginning of the program, the Sisters sang ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ song.
From 1957, the US missionaries admitted young Indian women in order to strengthen their membership and to spread out their missionary activities to other parts of India. Since then the community has grown with its Indian members numbering 240, ministering across India, Nepal, Botswana and USA.
As the third Congregation of women religious founded in the United States, in 1812, SCNs celebrate with gratitude, giving honor to a strong heritage of fidelity and service. Sisters of Charity of Nazareth with their Mother House at Nazareth Kentucky, has over 600 members spread over USA, India, Belize Nepal, and Botswana. In 2008, the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Pittsburg, USA, merged with the SCN Congregation. The Sisters and their 170 Associates continue to spread the legacy of their founder, Mother Catherine Spalding reading the signs of the times and responding in faith impelled by the love of God.
Malini Manjoly, SCN
Five SCNs (Sisters Magdalene Maghia, Nutan Kujur, Prabha Kujur, Rose Toppo and Sushma Alberta Ekka) made their Final Commitment in the SCN Congregation on May 15, 2011 at the Eucharistic celebration held at the Parish Church in Mokama. Rev. Devasia Mattathilani, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Patna, was the main celebrant of the occasion. Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN, provincial of Eastern Province received the vows. The presence of the families and friends of the professed Sisters, the parishioners of Mokama and several SCNs from the Province made this occasion a special and memorable one for the five perpetually professed.
The Province Leadership gratefully acknowledges the guidance and direction given by Josita Eniakattu, SCN, to the six tertians during their tertianship time.
Elveera Pereira, SCN who will be pronouncing her vows in Bangalore on May 22, also was present.
The first ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in India was on the southern banks of the Ganges river in the city of Mokama. SCNs first began their ministries here more than six decades ago. Ministries on campus include a hospital, hostels, and a nursing school.
On the first Sunday in February the Shrine Feast of the Mother of Divine Grace takes place in Mokama just outside of the SCN Convent. Thousands of villagers from all around the state of Bihar, the Archdioceses of Patna and Ranchi, and even farther parts of India and Nepal, visit the holy shrine to pray to Holy Mary of Mokama.
People make the pilgrimage with aspirations of healing. The morning of the Shrine Feast a healing mass is held by the Most Rev. Archbishop William D’Souza, S.J., followed by a procession around the shrine.
Spalding Hurst is the communications specialist with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. He is currently traveling with the SCNs throughout India — learning first hand about their ministry work, helping to connect through technology the global SCN Community, and recording the stories of the Sisters in India.