01/18/2021, 15.21
INDIA
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Eight sisters, ‘God’s channel to reach the poor’, take temporary and perpetual vows in Odisha

by Nirmala Carvalho

In Cuttack cathedral, four nuns expressed temporary vows, four expressed perpetual vows. The Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy were the first to work in Odisha. Their work ranges from education and healthcare to development, catechesis and evangelisation.

Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) – The four Sisters who took temporary vows and the four who took perpetual vows are – together with their fellow Sisters – “God's channel to reach the poor,” said Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (Odisha), who led the Mass last Saturday in Cuttack’s cathedral.

The Sisters who took their vows belong to the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy. Nirmala Jose, Vimala, Keerthana and Mary Hyma took perpetual vows, whilst Biddika Radha, Jhumuri, Pushpa, and Shushmita Lakra took temporary vows.

Because of pandemic-related health restrictions, few people attended the ceremony, but despite this, it was “full of spiritual value” and brightened by local cultural elements, such as the welcome dance at the beginning of the celebration.

“These sisters belong to the first congregation that came to work in the diocese,” Archbishop Barwa explained. “They bring hope and change into people's lives, offering them opportunities to meet their spiritual and material needs.”

The Sisters are involved in education, health, development, but also in catechesis and evangelisation. In practice, the catechism of children, young people and adults is entrusted to them.

But they also take care of school dropouts, helping them learn skills for work in tailoring, computers, the hospitality industry, and nursing. They also have a special programme for women, to educate and empower them.

“The sisters take care above all of the children in the villages, giving them a taste for prayer and faith. In the district there is abysmal poverty. They are God's channel to reach the poor, the weak, the sick and the elderly, making them experience God and the richness of their lives and quickly making them conscientious citizens of our beloved India.”

Sister Leena, the provincial superior, is grateful to Archbishop Barwa. “In his homily, the bishop underlined the figure of Mary Mother of God and asked the Sisters to take Mary as a model for their religious commitment in times like today’s, full of adversity, materialism, and the confusion produced by social media. In the age of coronavirus, it is important to follow the crucified Christ and expand the kingdom of God.”

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