I was born to Jaganathan and Annammal in a village called Usilangulam, Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu, India. We are 7 children in the family, two boys and five girls. I was brought up in a good atmosphere of love and joy. I learned a lot from my parents and relatives, like coming together and being helpful to one another. Our village is a sub-station, so we did not have daily Mass, but we would go to Church daily and pray. The Catechist would lead us in prayer, which helped all of us grow spiritually. The priest came once a month and celebrated Mass. There was no school, hospital or shopping place in our village. We, the children in our village, joined together to go to School, collect firewood and water and enjoyed the company of each other. After completion on 5th Std., I was sent to a boarding school for further studies. I did my elementary school in one place, high school in another and higher secondary in yet another place. I lost my father, brother and sister who are older to me.
I have faced and seen difficult situations in my life, namely when there was famine and our parents struggled to provide our needs and also when I lost my dear ones, specially my sister. I have slowly learnt to overcome all that and am able to adjust to life according to the situation and take it positively. I am happy today, because of the God experience in my life and strongly believe that He is my strength and source of everything.
When I was in Std 4th I was attracted to a Sister who used to come to our village and teach catechism and do a lot of charity to the poor. I liked her so much and wanted to become like her. From Std 6th onwards I studied in a Convent School (Bon Secours Convent) but was not drawn to the sisters. As I was growing my devotion to Our Lady increased and I was inspired to dedicate my life to Jesus in serving the poor. When I was in the higher secondary, some sisters came to our School and spoke about their congregation and Foundress.
I decided to join the Congregation of Mary of Leuca, an Italian Congregation and got permission from my parents and joined them in Madurai. After a few months I got some skin infection in both hands and they thought it may be a serious skin disease and asked me to leave, so I left the Congregation. As soon as I came out my hand was alright and so I continued pursuing my desire of becoming a religious.
My cousin who was a priest helped me to join the Good Shepherd Congregation and thus I joined in the year 1988 at Bangalore. I was professed in the year 1992 and made my final commitment in the year 1997. Today I am happy and proud of myself to be a Good Shepherd Sister in reaching out to the poor and shepherd them with love and kindness.
My cousin, Brother Fr. Alex Prem Kumar SJ, kidnapping in Afghanistan by the Taliban gave us a shocking and painful experience for almost 9 months. The tragedy brought our entire extended family very close to God and taught us to trust Him, who can do wonders for us. God heard our prayer and gave us good news that he is alive. We believe that God has given a second life to him and as a family rejoiced with him in offering Thanksgiving Mass and celebrated his life very grandly.
My heart is full of joy and gratitude and my lips filled with praises to God Almighty as I look back at the 25 years of journeying under the shadow of His wings. Every celebration is an experience, the external grandeurs will fade away and the internal will echo in the depths of my heart to overflow as I join with our beloved Mother, Mary to express my gratefulness and say:
My Soul magnifies the Lord, for he has done great things for me….
Mostly I worked in the rural areas for the empowerment of women and children. Working with vulnerable people gives me a real love, joy and happiness to my life and urges me to do something best for these people. So today I am happy and thank my Shepherd Lord, especially for His presence and his faithfulness in my life, enabling me to be faithful to His service in reaching out to the people in the margins. I thank God for my family members, relatives, friends, beneficiaries, my Directress and all my Sisters in both Province who shaped me and supported me to live this life joyfully and meaningfully.
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region
In Nagpur India, Sisters from two provinces gather to lay the foundation stone for the Provincialate building, and to bury a time capsule