Nine junior Sisters in Bangalore Province gathered at the Socio-Religious Center of Jesuits in Christ Hall in Calicut, Kerala, for their summer program under the initiative of Sister Beena Chirackal, the vice-provincial and junior directress of Bangalore Province, on May 3, 2019. The 10-day program was set in motion with a course on “Psycho-Spiritual and Sexual Integration” followed by the retreat, subsequently the Renewal of Vows and a pilgrimage to Malayatoor and Bharnaganam.
The resource persons, Father Jose Thachil S.J and Sister Gracy SSJM, helped the young Sisters grow in awareness of the realities of their inner selves and the world around. The course included various concepts like psychological and sexual stages of growth, reconstructing the image of oneself, spirituality, religious life in the 21st century and journey towards wholeness. The young Sisters expressed their doubts and opinions and openly involved themselves in the healing process which paved way for their retreat guided by Father Raju S.J. Each Sister was helped individually in the healing process and at the conclusion of it she received a unique healing image to reconstruct her self image. Seven Sisters renewed their Vows on May 13, 2019, during the Eucharistic Celebration followed by a cake cutting ceremony. The Sisters were privileged to spend an evening in Calicut beach and visit some of the migrant workers with Sister Gracy Thombrakudy, SCN.
Sister Beena and the junior Sisters spent quality time in sharing their reflections on the books (moral/spiritual) they read during the year 2018-2019, a goal they accomplished collectively to improve their reading habits. They further discussed on the commitments they would take up for the coming academic year, some of them are, working on their personal goals, contributing to the EPDO from their might and abiding on their healing image individually.
Afterward, they left from Calicut to Sister Beena’s home in Angamaly for a pilgrimage to Mount Malayatoor (where Saint Thomas the Apostle had reached) which was indeed a very unique moment for all, for many it was the first time that they ever climbed a mountain. It was a long climb and took an hour and a half to reach on the top of the mountain. Some of them were breathless in between, some skipped many falls while some prayed at each station of the cross to reach the next station. The fruit of the climb was a deep sense of satisfaction accompanied by an amazing and refreshing sight. Each Sister prayed, spent time in capturing the beauty on the mountain and further moved ahead to visit and pray at the tomb of Saint Alphonsa (first Indian woman saint) in Bharnaganam. The Sisters were very well taken care of by the Sister Beena’s family members which made all of them feel at home. All of them were overwhelmed with joy and the hospitality of the family, the time spent in the stream near the house, the pilgrimage and the course cum retreat. The program concluded on May 16, 2019, and all the Sisters returned to their respective missions.
Florina Joseph, SCN