Little did I know when I entered the portals of Good Shepherd, as a student of Grade 6 in 1972, that this school was going to change my life. I was introduced to the compassion of the Good Shepherd sisters in so many ways – the earliest instance being the time when my younger sister met with a serious accident. As she lay almost comatose after a traumatic head injury, the Good Shepherd sisters and staff had ensured that she was given the necessary medical attention – even before my parents arrived. I was an average student who didn’t do too well in class. During those times, it was the love and the gentle touch of my teachers that instilled faith and confidence in me. That encouragement was something I tried to pass on with the free tuitions I started giving similar students in school as a token of my gratitude, from as early as when I was in grade 10!
It was not by chance that I returned to this school as a teacher. Though I moved on in life, there were times when I would stand at the school fence and longingly peep inside. The day came when I interviewed for the post of a teacher. I was barely equipped for that role; all I had was the deep desire to learn, teach and give back to the school that made me, me. With so many sisters and colleagues to guide me, it’s not a wonder that it has been 20 years since I began teaching. With a special love for mathematics, I learnt to teach the love of the subject and a positive attitude towards it, more than the actual subject itself. I LOVE ---- was my mantra for the kids.
When I was in the peak of my glorious teaching and I thought that I was in the perfect place, God tested me and my love for the mission. Suddenly, I fell ill with a neuro muscular disorder that eludes nomenclature to date. I slowly lost my physical senses and muscular coordination, and was bed ridden for over 2 years. As my health deteriorated steadily, God taught me and my family many valuable lessons. I had 2300 children from school and their families sending petitions to God for my recovery. That was probably when Saint Mary Euphrasia’s love began moulding me for mission. In gratitude for the gift of life, I promised God that I would surrender every day of my life to service through Good Shepherd Mission.
I resumed work, albeit with a walker and a stammer. I learnt French to challenge my ability to speak, and the sisters reassigned work to me. From teaching just Mathematics, I started work in the admin department, and also started teaching French. Every moment of my free time, I dedicated to empowering students towards mission.
Thus was born SAMPOORNA – the outreach arm of the school. SAMPOORNA’s motto is to reach out and reach within, and make learning holistic. We organize visits to different institutions, teaching programmes for the underprivileged at our Good Shepherd centre as well as in slum areas. We also organize visits to different Good Shepherd communities to help students imbibe the Good Shepherd spirit and understand the ministries. SAMPOORNA organizes adventure camps to instil in students moral and social values, stressing the importance of team work and individual excellence. What we have attempted to do is to create a group of sensitized students who are ready and willing to serve any community that is in need.
The Good Shepherd sisters have been very supportive. In the past 4 years, we have organized SANTA – an event for over 1000 underprivileged children in our premises. The joy of team work and service, has been experienced by every person in this campus, through this programme. Parents, old students, teachers and non-teaching staff form an integral part of this programme.
As a member of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership Team since 2007, I have experienced a great formation which has honed me towards co-responsibility in our mission today.
‘The strength of partnership has ignited an everlasting spirit of St Mary Euphrasia in my life.’
In organizing a session, workshop or meeting, who do you look for to facilitate the event? This article may give you some good ideas....
Representatives of these Asia Pacific Core Teams met on 7-8 July 2016 to develop a Co-Responsibility framework for Good Shepherd Mission
Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission
Read this comprehensive report on the Good Shepherd Relief Work in Nepal from April to September 2015
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region