Farewell to Sister Pauline Paraplackal, SCN

Pauline Paraplackal, SCN, 65, died at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, Haryana India on March 22, 2012. The funeral service was held at Queen of the Apostles Church, Kanhei Parish, Gurgaon on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Sister Pauline’s body was brought to the church around 9 a.m. on Saturday where the SCNs, family members, children and staff of Asha Kiran, Dharuhera and Asha Niwas, Gurgaon, collaborators, many priests and religious, friends, parishioners, gathered for the liturgy. From 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. we prayed together and paid our last respects to our dear Pauline.  The funeral liturgy began at 10:30 am.

The Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Father Victor D’Souza, was the main celebrant along with 12 other priests from the Archdiocese. After the Mass, her remains were taken to Asha Kiran, Dharuhera for burial. All the SCNs, children and the CRI members of that area were present for the last rites. At around 1:15 p.m. Pauline was laid to rest in the soil in which she was most involved and where she worked hard to make it look beautiful with flowers and vegetables. It seemed so fitting to return her to the land where she tilled, nourished and brought forth life.

As we bid farewell to Pauline with many feelings and much sorrow, may we be comforted by the awareness that we have another saint in heaven to intercede for us and especially for our mission at Asha Kiran and Asha Niwas.

Three of Pauline’s brothers, Kuriachan, Ousepachan and John and one of her sisters-in-law from Kerala and Karnataka, few relatives from Delhi, some of her former students, 13 priests, a large number of CRI members from Dharuhera, MSFS Family members, the parishioners of Kanhei Church and Daruhera, the residents of Asha Kiran and Asha Niwas and around 40 SCNs from India and Nepal were present for the Mass and the funeral rites.

“It was a difficult day for us as we gathered here to bid farewell to Sister Pauline who passed away suddenly on Thursday morning – a faith filled woman who loved and lived fully till she breathed her last,” said Sister Reena Theruvankunnel, SCN, Vice Provincial, in her introduction to the funeral Mass.

Anna (Chinnamma) Paraplackal was born on February 26, 1947, in Kurumannu, Kerala to Mathew Paraplackal and Aleyamma Mattathil. Pauline is the sixth in her family of nine children- six brothers and three sisters.
Anna joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth on September 8, 1966. She made her First Vows on July 2, 1969, and took the religious name – Sister Pauline. Pauline made her Final Profession on June 21, 1974.

Sister Pauline has been a Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 43 years. She loved being with the very poor in rural missions of Bihar and Jharkhand and 37 years were spent in ministering in the rural areas. She was an educator by profession and was in the ministry of education for many years.  She also served as Formator and Administrator. She spent the past five years of her life in Gurgaon and Dharuhera, taking care of and teaching the children at Asha Niwas and Asha Kiran.

Sister Joel shares her memory of Pauline: “It is not easy to talk about a person endowed with very many qualities in following the call of Jesus. We were contemporaries in formation. She became an educator and I, a nurse. Pauline was a very jovial person and had a hearty laughter which was contagious. She was a simple and unassuming person and was extremely hospitable.  She would love to cook her favorite dishes for community members and guests.

Pauline would spent her holidays from school by going with me and Sister Mercy Thundathil, SCN, to the remote villages in Mokama, helping the sick or teaching catechism and would stay with families in the villages. Once she came to Damak, Nepal, where I was working, even though she did not know the language. Her gentle and pleasant personality won the hearts of the people.

Sister Pauline was an educator, nurse, administrator, all in one! She did not mince words when it came to injustices to the poor. She suffered many physical ailments and would get irritated, but she would make peace before the sun went down.  The fact that most of her missions were in the remote villages among the under privileged show her unconditional love for the poor and the neglected.”

Sister Pauline was one of the pioneers at Dharuhera and loved taking care of the earth and the gardens and later being with the children, till the last. She worked hard for the welfare of the children and in her own quiet and unassuming ways expressed her love and affection for them.

Pauline was a selfless and other-centered SCN who responded to the needs of the mission and community whenever and wherever she was called upon to do so. Being a woman of God, she trusted her God at every step she took in her life. She worked hard and lived a simple life of faith which was reflected in her daily life.

Sister Mercy Thundathil shared that Pauline loved and lived fully the SCN charism. Sister Mercy said, “Pauline easily adjusted with anyone being very people-oriented and God fearing person. She was a beautiful and open person to serve God and one another”.

Sister Pauline, we, your Sisters and all who have gathered here take inspiration from your life of trust in God, simplicity and commitment to mission. You loved being an SCN and a mediator for the poor. We take inspiration from you and pray that we be blessed to continue our earthly journey in love; for you like St. Paul, considered everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of gaining Christ Jesus and be found in Him.

Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi, in expressing his condolence at the death of Sister Pauline wrote, “Let me express my gratitude for the dedicated services Sister Pauline has rendered to the children in our Archdiocese. I’m sure Jesus will have a special place for her in his Kingdom as he gave a priority to the little ones in his ministry”.

Pauline is in that special place interceding for all of us. Thank you Pauline for the life you lived with us.   We will be with you one day!

Malini Manjoly, SCN

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