General Superior Sister Barbara Winkler, MSC, and General Councilor Sister Nicola Sprenger spent the month of October 2019 among our MSC Sisters in India for a three-fold purpose: Visitation; Consultation with the District Leader; and Facilitation of the District Assembly. On their arrival in Bangalore, they were impressed to see the newly established Linckens Home for the Elderly, adjacent to Sneha Bhavan, the central house of the Sisters. The home opened in April 2019 with its first three residents which have now grown to ten. They are quite settled and happy in their new surroundings and are pleased with their new relationship with our Sisters who invite them to join in various celebrations.
At the beginning of the visit, Sisters Barbara and Nicola spent time with the present leadership team and had a three day gathering with most of the Sisters of the District. This was possible because there was a special Hindi feast and holidays thus the schools etc. had closed. At this gathering, the Sisters engaged in a process of prayerful reflection, sharing, and discernment about the future of the district and leadership. They voiced their dreams and hopes for the District while also identifying areas of their lives and ministry in need of attention.
Following this initial gathering, Sisters Barbara and Nicola visited various communities in the District where they received warm welcomes and gracious hospitality. There was time for a community meeting, personal interviews and where possible, they visited the Sisters’ ministries. Both Barbara and Nicola were impressed to learn more about prison ministry in India since one of our Sisters is currently serving as secretary at the national level. They visited a home for children of those serving time in prison where the children are receiving loving care and emotional support.
For her first time, Sister Barbara visited our Sisters ministering in the far North area of Orissa with Sister Ancy, District Leader. Currently four MSC Sisters live in Kotpad, a small village, primarily Hindu and Muslim. The Sisters are working closely with the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priests at Christ’s School, an English medium school started by the CMl’s a few years ago. They now have over 300 students, are expanding gradually and adding new classes each year. Sister Barbara was impressed by the dedication of the CMl’s to education and their zeal for mission. Two of our MSC Sisters in Kotpad are doing further part-time studies at one of the CMl’s nearby universities while also working at Christ’s School. We are blessed for this opportunity to collaborate with the CMI fathers who have been very supportive.
Sister Nicola visited Bellary where our English medium school has grown to over 800 students. They are doing very well but there is a great need for additional classrooms. We are working with our Sisters to find ways to enable the further development of the school. Each year their 10th grade students have passed the required exams with excellent grades.
While at Sneha Bhavan the Sisters of the District celebrated Sister Barbara’s Golden Jubilee with her. She was grateful and pleased that a number of the MSC’s could join in the celebration on the anniversary of Fr. Jules Chevalier’s death, Sister Barbara attended a special Mass and Chevalier celebration with the MSC Sisters, priests, brothers and formandees. There was a wonderful spirit among them and Fr. Darwin, the union superior shared a desire for closer collaboration between our Sisters and the MSC priests. The final weekend of the visit, Sisters Nicola and Barbara facilitated the three-day District Assembly held in a prayerful and reflective setting. Most of the Sisters were able to participate in the assembly, including Sisters Sophy and Clara from Manila. The Sisters were especially grateful for the experience and pleased with the fruit of their dialogue and the decisions reached during the assembly.
Source: Connections Spring/Summer 2020 Newsletter www.mscreading.org