06 Sisters of Joy - Fr. (Dr.) John Rose S.J.

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:50 AM ]
Twelve years ago, Mother Teresa's birthday, August 26, a variety of circumstances brought me to Mahim, to the Xavier Institute of Engineering. The feelings that I was experiencing were mixed, and not very uplifting. When I looked out of the window of my room on the fifth floor of the Jesuit residence, I found myself looking straight at the twin towers of Mount Mary's Basilica in Bandra, and the sight of its Cross, lighted up in red, inexplicably brought me great consolation. Once a week, I made it a point to visit Mount Mary's, for reflection and cooling off, and giving my legs good exercise. On one of my early days in Mahim, I saw on our notice board an invitation from the Canossian Sisters for one of their special feasts - Our Lady of Sorrows, and I signed up to be present. I did so out of solidarity with Our Lady who must have undergone far worse than what I was going through, and expecting that the Sisters' prayer service would bring me peace and blessings.

I had not expected to find what I saw at the Canossian Convent. The Sisters were in a very jolly mood, all in smiles. After a brief prayer service, the celebrations began: cool drinks, a variety of starters, a big and varied spread for dinner, and thereafter fun, music, games, dance, and much banter. I was scandalised, almost. But I was set to make an investigation about my belief systems, since the Sisters seemed to have the consolations that I did not on the feast day.

When studying Philosophy, a professor stated that, to understand the nature of the tree, we have first to experience the fruit of it. I had firsthand knowledge of what the Canossian Sisters had accomplished in urban areas and in inaccessible remote areas of Bhilpudi, Fulwadi, Vadoli, Zaroli, Shirpur and Shrirampur. They worked with slow learners, children of special needs, girls from slum areas; and they ran night and nursing schools for Adivasi girls and hospitals for lepers, besides organising NGOs for many social programmes and empowering women through self-help groups. I think it was mainly through these Sisters that I felt what really undergirded the devotion to our Lady of Sorrows.