I was born in a little town called Shertallai from the district of Alleppy, in the State of Kerala, India. I studied in a local convent school nearby, where there were orphan children coming from the convent. This was something strange and mysterious for me - an eight/nine year old then - as I thought all children had a home and parents. This thought lingered in my mind until after my high school, when I once again thought why not join a convent where such children are cared for. Incidentally my youngest sister is also a Sister in a Congregation named The Sisters of Nazareth in Kerala, whose patron saint is St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier. Last year she completed her 25 years in religious life. Now both my father and mother have left for their eternal abode having completed their given task.
Though I was inspired seeing the orphans then, we hardly have any orphans as such now. The whole scenario of the society is changing and we have other forms of ministry where we are called to be Mary Euphrasias today. I am further inspired and questioned as I share with the young novices about the vitality and vigour of Mary Euphrasia in her time.
I was professed in 1977 with the name Mary Preethi, though I wished to have my name as Maria. The then Province Leader Sister Francis Xavier told me that since we already had two sisters named Maria in the province, it would be confusing to have a third one. So I chose this name which means Mary the loved one of God.
As I had wished all through my temporary professed stage, I had the privilege of being with the orphan and semi orphan children in St Antony’s Home in Mysore. Then I went to prepare for my perpetual profession. At different times one year each before and after perpetual profession I assisted in the novitiate. For two years I had the opportunity of working in our rural community in Andhra Pradesh. After this I pursued my higher studies and served in our Schools for the rest of the years. For the past seven years I am in the Novitiate and at present there are four novices.
Working in the formation teams both in the province and at the Asia Pacific level is a very enriching and enlightening experience. There is ample opportunity to know one’s own self and others and the way we implement what we learn from each other. This growing, changing and transforming approach in Formation which is introduced in our Congregation is truly very beneficial personally, as a team and for those in formation. There is a lot of joy and fulfilment being with the young ones as I Interact, move and live with them all the time, At the same time there is a struggle within me to strike a balance with today’s youth and the values with which they come and the bygone days of upbringing. It is more a challenge to be with the novices in these trying times with their present sense of values and faith and my expectations of them.
My conviction from experience is that, if the young women who join the novitiate are a little older than they are right now, it will lead to very good outcomes in the way they talk, reflect and interact in all aspects of living in the novitiate. Then we will see and experience a tremendous change in the way the young will contribute wherever they are.
My dream for the future is, to get involved with something new and challenging in our province according to our Chapter thrust. Hope I will follow the Lord’s promptings.
Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission
Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region