It is a year and half since three of us started serving in Holy Family Hospital, Okhla. Two of us, Sr. Deepti and Sr. Thomasina, take turns to man the small Book Centre (Piety Stall, the name given it by the Diocese in the contract), at the entrance of the hospital, from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. It is a special experience as we continuously meet the staff, patients and their relations walking in. They come to ask for our prayers and we also pray for them, sometimes, then and there. People show great trust in our prayer and blessing. In fact, we feel our lives are enriched and our faith is growing seeing the faith of the simple people of all faiths.
The Medical Library is situated in the basement of the Private OPD and is completely cut off from all contacts or disturbances. Those who come to the library are GNM and BSc Nursing students, Lab, X-Ray and Radiology Students, Faculty members, DNB Doctors, other consultants and doctors and staff. Around 500 members use the library regularly. No outsiders are allowed in the library. There are some general, spiritual, religious books and fiction, besides the Medical books. But most of them come for medical books and some for fiction also. Other books are hardly used.
The Library is open from 9 am to 9 pm., from Monday to Saturday. There are four of us who work in the library. The other three are post graduates in Library Science. We have three timings, namely, 9 am to 5.30 pm; 10.30 am to 7 pm and 12.30 pm to 9 pm. As I stay in the campus, I am expected to take the last shift, that is, from 12.30 pm to 9 pm. As and when I have some programmes or when I take leave, someone else takes this shift.
As I started, we, the staff of the library met together, and they told me, it was for the first time they were ever having a meeting or being asked their opinion or suggestion about anything. They felt so relieved and happy and they were open. In fact, they wanted some changes urgently, as some of the ways were not acceptable to them but could not express this, out of fear. So, together we introduced a lot of changes that were urgent for a better and effective functioning, starting with rearranging the shelves, the books, and the counter;office, and issue–return and membership procedures. The readers, staff and management are happy and appreciative of the changes.
We three stay in the hostel, named Asha Bhawan. We are 11 religious sisters from 7 Congregations and 36 staff nurses. Sisters occupy the ground floor and others first and second floors. We have a Chapel inside the hostel campus, which is enclosed, where we have Mass only once in a way. The daily Mass is in the Hospital Chapel. We have our prayer, common Visit etc in this Chapel. We have our food in the Hospital Cafeteria, where all the staff eats. I am in charge of this hostel. My main work here is to take care of the maintenance, as the staff nurses are attached to the Nurses Hostel Warden, or Nursing Superintendent, for their permissions. As this hostel had no one in charge for some time, it was a gigantic job to get it cleaned up and to put things in order and make it what it is today. So in the process, I was able to clean up two go-downs along with the helpers who are always provided when needed, and do some renovation and make them habitable and so four more persons could be accommodated.
We go to the community at least once a month and for special meetings and celebrations. Sr. Lilly is always available to help us out in whatever way she can.
We help out for daily and special occasion liturgical celebrations, in teaching and selecting hymns; preparing prayers and readers. The Diamond Jubilee Celebration, for the inauguration in 2012 and conclusion this year, kept me very busy in the preparation of Liturgy. Besides, I also took care of arranging weekly or fortnightly Confessions, as Confessions were arranged earlier, only twice a year; and other areas pertaining to spiritual life. As a whole, anything to do with spiritual life, the director and others approach me. Thus in many small and big ways God is using us, here in this hospital. We feel happy and fulfilled that we are useful in many ways, and our presence is much appreciated. Thanks to all our sisters in the community and to all of you for your prayerful support.
Sr. Mary Sebastian, New Delhi