11/08/2022, 17.37
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From Carmel to the Persian Gulf: the mission of Indian Sisters

by sr. Rose Celine

A Sister’s testimony introduced the meeting with Pope Francis in Manama. “We involve ourselves in prison ministry,” and “visit hospitals, the sick and needy families,” she said. In a world “changing by leaps and bounds”, the nuns educate “young minds” from migrant families to follow Jesus.


Manama (AsiaNews) – Along with the contribution offered to dialogue between religions, Pope Francis’s recent trip to Bahrain provided a great opportunity to learn about the vitality of Catholic migrant communities in the countries of the Persian Gulf.

In this regard, we propose below the testimony given by an Indian nun, Sister Rose Celine, before the pontiff on Sunday in Manama during the meeting with priests, men and women religious, and pastoral workers.

In the text she talks about the experience in Bahrain of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, a congregation founded in India in 1870 that combines the Carmelite charism with the mission of teaching.

Since 1969 the Sisters have been present among Catholic migrants in Kuwait. In 2003 they began their ministry in Bahrain with the Sacred Heart School, providing support for the pastoral activities of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.

I, Sister Rose Celine, would like to give you a summary of our life and mission. The Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, the first among the Carmelites to be an active mission Congregation, have been pioneers in girls’ education and faith training. We began our missionary journey in the Kingdom of Bahrain on 3 January 2003 following our foundation in Kuwait. Bahrain, known as the “land of smiles”, welcomed us warmly.

The compassionate and merciful love of the Father urges us to commit ourselves to the service of our people here. We bear witness to the abundance of God’s mercy which warms the heart and rekindles hope in the lives of many. We involve ourselves in prison ministry. In particular, we spend time with female prisoners, sharing the Word of God, counselling and praying with them.

Our presence here is a unique sign that God picks us up from wherever we are, and leads us in new and unfamiliar ways towards our goal, lived out under our motto, ‘God alone is Sufficient’.

We Sisters are involved with different groups in the Church, one of them being the Legion of Mary. The weekly meetings offer us a great opportunity to grow in our spirituality through prayer and community fellowship. Along with the Legionaries, we visit hospitals, the sick, and needy families.

We see that the world around us is changing by leaps and bounds. This rapid change is raising new challenges and much that was familiar to us is moving into a certain ambiguity. Yet we respond creatively to the needs of the time, by being mediators of change, hope and transformation both within and outside our community.

To help the youth of today we have involved ourselves in the catechetical ministry helping the students in their faith training so that they may be equipped to respond to the rapid changes around them, and face the new challenges that come their way. Opportunities are provided to them by organising quizzes, talent shows and various other activities to enhance their leadership, communication, and creative thinking skills. Every year, we prepare students and adults to receive the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation.

Our Foundress, Venerable Mother Veronica, has handed over to us a legacy flowing from her experience of God as her All. Following in her footsteps, we Sisters, nurture the members of the Carmel Blossoms (a lay association for our students), with greater faith and commitment to Jesus. We teach and share the charism of the Apostolic Carmel through various activities and fellowship, educating young minds to live and transform the world with the humane values of truth, justice, love, peace, and excellence.

Further to all these activities with different nationalities, we attend parish council meetings and participate in all Church events. During the pandemic, we assisted the priests to celebrate the Eucharist in different languages.

Our Blessed Mother, Queen and beauty of Carmel, is our model and she encourages us to efface ourselves in the service of the Church and His people.  Insofar as possible, we radiate the joy of the Gospel in and around us.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)

Photo: Vatican News

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