BTh completed at JDV

The three years of being away from the community was a long time indeed, but at the same time these years went by so fast that I hardly realize that my studies are over.

My time spent at JnanaDeepa-Vidyapeeth, Pune has been very educative and formative dorothyfor me, indeed a wonderful time of learning. The subjects taught during the years have opened my eyes and broadened my outlook towards everything—scripture, religion, culture, many other things and life itself. Moreover, my personal involvement in the subjects taught in the class rooms as well as other non-formal activities has contributed to my growth as a person and as a Pauline religious. 

I am very grateful to the province for giving me this wonderful opportunity to do my B.Th. Though it was challenging in many ways it has its own reward. Now that I am back in the community, I am really glad to insert myself in the activities where I can integrate my learnings. The absence from the active mission life has made me appreciate the apostolate even more and I am eager to recommit myself to this beautiful apostolate in every way possible.

‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the gospel’ Is 52:7, has become more significant and sweeter.

 

Dorothy Adaha,fsp

 

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Holy Land Trip – My journey to faith-discovery

It was a long cherished dream come true in my life. I had always desired and dreamt of going to the Holy Land, and even my mother used to say I hope you all (my religious sisters) will have a chance to visit Holy Land, and I am hoping and praying for it. And when Fr Selva Rathinam our director of MBS in JDV told us that as Biblical students you will get a chance to go to Holy Land I was thrilled and overjoyed. I was waiting for November to come, so we can go to Holy Land. When the time arrived as if to test me I had a fall and my collarbone had a fracture. But my companions were too good to help me all the time and I can say they carried for me the luggage and helped me in all my needs. A special thanks and appreciation to them and may God bless them all abundantly.

The journey was from 7th November to 16th November. We went first to Mount Nebo- Moses’ Burial place- Moses saw the promised Land- 12 springs- the Abu Badd Stone. Then to Cana- and had the Holy Mass there. The next place was Nazereth- Annunciation Church- St Joseph’s workshop- marian devotion of different countires- Greek orthodox church, Mary’s well.

The Mount of Beatitudes, Church of multiplication of five loaves, (closed), Church of Primacy of St Peter, site of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus calmed the sea, walked over the water, prepared breakfast, asking Peter three times, “do you love me”?, Capernaum Synagogue, Peter’s mother in Law’s house, Peter’s House- church over Peter’s house, boating in the sea of Galilee, Peter’s fish for Lunch, Jordan river-baptismal place of Jesus, Mount  Tabor-Transfiguration Church, chapel of Moses, chapel of Elijah, via Maris, Jericho- Mt of Temptation, Mount of Olivet, Church of Ascension- Foot prints of Jesus, Pater Nostra church- Jesus taught “Our Father”, grave yard of Jews, Muslims, Christians- far sight of the city of Jerusalem, church of Dominus Flavitus- where Jesus wept looking at Jerusalem- the altar of the church is towards east to west, Mary Maglene Church( only saw from far), Gesthemene- olive tree where Jesus prayed, rock inside the church, where Jesus  prayed, Kidron Valley, Gehanna, David’s statue with the harp, Last supper Senacle, David’s Tomb, Mary’s tomb- Dormition Abbey.- place of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Shepherd’s Field- Bethelehem, Milk Grotto- drop of milk spilled while Mary fed infant Jesus, (tradition from the fourth century), Nativity church- place of the birth of Jesus were very heartwarming to see.Rosely 1 Rosely 2

We went on to visit still more holy places like, Stephaneus gate- through which Jesus was taken to the house of Antoneus, Caiphas, and for his Trial, Pool of Bethsaida- where Jesus healed the paralytic, church of St Ann- place where Mary was born (tradition), via Dolorosa- Mass in the Church of Flagalation, map of the journey of the cross, holy Sepelchure Church- 10th station on ward in the church, mount Calvary, rock , where Jesus body was washed and laid in the arms of Mary, burial and resurrection place- Holy Sepulcher, chapel of St Helena, where she found the true cross of Jesus, the rock of the Calvary, broke open at the time of the death of Jesus, wailing wall, Ain Karem- the Birth Place of John the Baptist, Bethany- the house of Martha, Mary , and Lazarus- olive press, the Church at Bethany, the Tomb of Lazarus, city of Jericho- the Sychamore tree on which Zacheus climbed, dead sea, Qumran caves, Taba boarder – Egypt, Sinai mount- the mountain top where Moses received 10 commandments, St Catherine Monastery, burning bush, well of Moses, golden calf, Suez canal- to the continent of Africa, Egyptian Museum, holy Family Church- tradition (where holy family stayed when they had ran away to Egypt), great pyramids, shop of perfume, papyrus shop and Nile Cruize.

Reflection: The most reflective places in the Holy Land were for me the Church of Cana, Nativity Church, Mount Nebo, Lazarus Tomb, Holy Sepulcher Church and The Burning Bush. In Cana during the Mass I prayed for all the couples especially of all our people at home and I too joined in thanking the Lord for the beautiful sacrament of marriage and all who renewed their vows on that day. The stone jar reminded me of the abundance of wine Christ provided for the couples, a life of love and joy in abundance.

 In the Nativity Church I realized how humble and simple I need to be in order to experience God and see him in my daily life. On Mount Nebo I reflected about Moses though a humble servant of God he was not able to reach the Promised Land. At times in my life to I may have wishes that are genuine yet it may not take place as I wish, I need to surrender fully to God and be happy with what life offers to me. At Bethany Lazarus was buried for 4 days, but faith in the resurrection brought him back to life. Christian death is a sleep, but resurrected life is eternal where I will live with God forever. Though divine, Jesus was crucified like a criminal and buried in a borrowed tomb. This tomb brings life and hope to many, who believes in him will have eternal life. It inspired me to think of the many who have laid down their life for others, the soldiers and the many leaders, who for others gave their life willingly. Am I able to give life to many? The burning bush was a symbol of God’s presence with me and with everyone. God is creatively active in the history and in the life of everyone. Though Moses tried to escape the responsibility God strengthened him in his call. So does God always strengthen me in my call.

I prayed for all of you as we journeyed on. I am very grateful to God and the provincial team for giving me this great gift of grace.

Sr. Rosely, Pune   

In the arms of Mater Dei

Our stay in Mater Dei can be compared to a baby being formed in the mother’s womb for ten months. After being formed for ten months the child is prepared to see the world. Similarly after being prepared spiritually in the loving arms of the Mother of God for ten months we are being prepared to face life in a Theo-centric perspective. Life in Mater Dei was fun filled learning, deep interiorizing, hot group works, heart aching exams, light evening walks, relaxed weekends, joyful community living, challenge of our living together which made us think out of the box and led us slowly to face life with renewed vigour.

 The course was very enriching and it helped us to improve our personality and to build up a deep relationship with God and with one another. A wide exposure of the world of scripture, prayer and discernment, personality integration and classes on self awareness helped us to unfold our potentials, unite ourselves to Jesus, and explore our true self-image and to discover ourselves as unique persons with a unique world of experience. The study of the scripture indeed was an inner experience of deep encounter with the Lord. We were surprised at every moment of God’s incomprehensible ways which are a mystery not to be comprehended but to be lived and celebrated at every moment of our life and mission.

Discovering the depths of God’s love for us we continued to explore and experience from the daily classes: new way of being the church, human rights and justice, theological anthropology, social teachings etc. which gave us a different approach and outlook in exploring possibilities suited to our mission. Classes on human sexuality, religion and dialogue helped us to get in touch with the reality more and more. As we walked through increased zeal and fortitude knowing that the hand of the Lord is upon us the classes on Eucharistic challenges, sacraments, moral theology, re-imaging the vows stirred us to walk onward with souls on fire.

 All the classes as a whole helped us to broaden our vision and enabled us to think differently. It also helped us to celebrate the differences through God experience of one enriching the other. Besides our daily classes we got weekend exposure to slums, home for the aged and differently abled children’s homes and to be part of the novena to St. Francis Xavier.

 On the 23rd  of March we had a solemn thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration presided over by Rt. Rev. Philip Neri, Archbishop of Goa, and in his sermon he told us that we the IMD students were like Noah in the ark. Every Ark has its own challenges, storms, hardships and joys and that we are called to be happy religious in life. 

 Our sincere thanks to Sr. Ancy and team for giving us this golden opportunity. We specially thank Sr. Emily and the sisters of the community of Goa for all their help, support and encouragement. Thanks to the community of Mumbai and New Delhi for the support.

Srs. Suba and Ranjitha

Bible Spirituality Course at Divine Retreat Centre

Dear Sisters,

Alleluia! Praise the Lord!

This is my “identity badge” which will tell you that I have been long enough (from August 2011 to April 2012). at the Divine retreat centre in Muringoor, Chalakudy to imbibe this spirit. We woke up at 5.20 in the morning to the sound of religious songs and bhajans springled generously with Alleluias and Praise the Lord. It fact, it was our rising bell.

The whole programme was meticulously planned by the director of the Institute, Fr. Babu Vadakkekara, vc. Time was assigned for each activity: meditation, morning prayer, Mass, personal prayer, Rosary/stations of the cross, monthly recollection, confession, lectures, study time … Even after dinner we returned to the classroom for extracurricular activities like skit/speech competition, singing, discussion, etc. The day came to an end at around 10 pm except on Saturdays and Sundays.

Bible Spirituality Course Participants 2011-2012

Since the place is known as a retreat centre many may not know that it also houses The Divine Institute of Bible and Spirituality where long and short courses are being conducted each year in English and Malayalam. The short courses are for 7 weeks and the long ones for eight months – all organized by the Vincentian Fathers.
There were 47 of us who completed the course: 4 priests, 1 deacon, 19 religious sisters and the rest, laity belonging to different age groups (from 22 to 65) and backgrounds. Some of the religious and priests are missionaries in India and abroad. There were participants hailing from 10 states including Manipur and Nagaland. Beginning from 2011 the Divine Institute of Bible and Spirituality is affiliated to the Calicut University, Kerala, so at the end of the course we were awarded a Diploma from the same University.
The accommodation was arranged on a twin-sharing room basis, large rooms with attached bath. We met in the dining room five times a day. Food was abundant and nutritious. We had something extra when someone’s birthday or Congregation’s feast came around.
The main thrust of the course was Bible: Introduction to the Bible, Salvation History, and the three main divisions of the Old Testament – Torah, Prophetic, and Wisdom literature. The New Testament, particularly the four Gospels and Revelation were given special attention. We had a written/oral exam at the end of each topic on the Bible. Other topics in the area of Spirituality were also taught but no exams. The professors were mostly Vincentian Fathers who teach in the Alwaye Seminary, Kerala. Others came from other religious houses and dioceses near and far. There were also lay persons among the teachers.
Since some time I have desired to attend a course to deepen my knowledge of the Bible and thus enrich my own spiritual life. In fact, my reason for joining this course is clearly expressed in Colossians 2:6-7, namely “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord , continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith … abounding in thanksgiving.” Many ask me: How was the course? I must say, my expectations are realized to a certain extent. I have grown in love for the Word of God, gained a deeper appreciation of the role of the Holy Spirit in my life and a greater devotion and love for the Holy Eucharist. I realize what great gifts these are. So my heart overflows with gratitude to God and to you my dear sisters. First of all to Sr. Ancy and the provincial government who readily agreed to my request and then, all of you, sisters particularly of my community and department who made it possible for me to be absent for months. I remembered and prayed for you often.
With affectionate greetings,
Sr. Clare Ukken