9th March was day which brought us Daughters of St Paul, specially the Bandra Community, a shock and deep sadness, when we realized it was time for not one but two of our sisters to say good bye to us. Though both they and we ourselves were preparing ourselves for this fateful day, little did we realize the truth in the saying death comes like a thief. At around 2 p.m. Sr Immacolata said her ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call to enter into eternity while sisters accompanied her with prayers. We were still making preparations for her to be taken to the Hospital Morgue, getting documents ready etc, when in the room opposite, Sr Albina began to show signs of declining health. Her pressure began to drop drastically and at one moment she lifted her shoulder indicating pain. Some of our sisters were by her side, massaging her and helping her as they could. But the Lord had decided that she accompany Sr Immacolata to the eternal banquet and she serenely passed away due to cardiac arrest, or simply a heart attack. After documents of both our dear sisters were ready, they were taken to the Bhaba hospital morgue until the next day around 12:45 when they were brought back. Not a minute passed when prayers were not said or hymns sung, in order that the ambience be almost like the one they were approaching – that of heaven. The floral tributes, the aromatic incense sticks all added the heavenly touch to this beautiful atmosphere. The band group which was hired by Sr Immaculata’s family played soothingly well-chosen hymns.
The funeral Eucharist began at 3 p.m. and the Chapel was overflowing with the relatives and well-wishers of our dear sisters, and of the Congregation in general, including members of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master and the Society of St Paul. Rev Fr Michael Raj, presided over the Eucharist , flanked by Fr Jose Pottayil, the homilist and Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt, besides many other priests of the Society of St Paul, who incidentally had come to Mumbai for the Superiors Meeting. Truly Srs Albina and Immacolata were privileged to be led to the Pearly Gates, on a carriage of prayers of the Pauline Family who were far from lacking on this day. In his homily Fr Jose Pottayil expressed his deep gratitude to Srs Albina and Immacolata, both of whom he knew personally, both in India and in Rome, where Sr Immacolata had served at the Queen of Apostles Hospital. He spoke all the good that he had learnt from them how they had always been a example to him. The choir helped us all to praise God using our voices melodiously. Before the Eucharist ended, the Funeral Rites were recited by Fr Joe Eruppakkatt in the Chapel itself, since it was predicted that it would be difficult in the cemetery due to probable lack of space, conditions, etc. Two buses were arranged and also the Community vehicles took the sisters , relatives and well-wishers to the Sewri Cemetery for the burial. Here after Mr. Elroy, of A.J. Fernandes Undertakers said a few words of thanksgiving to God , for the lives of our two sisters, and contribution , women and religious sisters make to the world. After this, the graves were blessed by Fr. K. V. Sebastian and while a song dedicated to Motherhood was being played, and all showering petals of roses and other flowers, the two coffins were lowered down into to the grave. The wreaths and candles were then arranged on the graves and they were looking beautiful at the end of the entire proceeding.
In conclusion, we must acknowledge the love and care showered our two sisters by Sr Jayanthi and Sr Rosaria, as also Srs Rose and Mukta as also the other sisters.
Sr Joeyanna fsp