Caring for resettled people is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.
In 1977, several of our Sisters in South India began living and working with families in the Panackachira resettlement colony, most of whom had already been uprooted twice and were evacuees from government land. Sister Sophie Vallavasseril explains, “They had absolutely nothing and were struggling in every way….Beginning with meeting the basic needs of food, shelter, employment, drinking water, sanitation, health, education and the like, Medical Mission Sisters and the diocesan Malanadu Development Society (MDS) collaboration continued with the empowerment of children, youth, women and the whole society.”
Over the past 33 years, a number of our Sisters and candidates have been involved at the colony. Sister Sophie remembers, “We lived a very simple life in their midst, and shared many of their hardships and struggles.” Now every family has a decent house and clean drinking water. The educational standard for children has grown, and most people are currently employed. The MDS, governmental and nongovernmental agencies will assure that there is ongoing growth.
Our Sisters notified the Diocese that it was time to phase out our involvement. As many of the residents said, “When Panackachira was in need, Medical Mission Sisters responded whole heartedly; now that we are more or less able to stand on our own feet, let us happily send our Sisters on with our prayers and blessings.”
In July, 2010, two gatherings of thanksgiving were held. The first was arranged by our Sisters, to express our gratitude for those who supported our mission in the colony for over 33 years. Bishop Mar Mathew Arackal, several priests, staff members, local residents and 20 Medical Mission Sisters attended. The second event was held by the local people, to express their appreciation.
Sister Sophie says, “In both these gatherings, the participants thanked us profusely for our dedicated service, which brought about radical change in the area…many of the people shared that they were touched by our simple life there.”
“Most of the people expressed that as we leave the colony, what they would miss most is our total availability and healing presence…we felt very happy that at least some people have imbibed our spirit and charism…and pray that they may grow together as children of one Father.”
November 15, 2010