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Sister Sophie Vallavasseril

Sister Sophie is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

Born and raised in Kerala, India, Sister Sophie is the third of four children. After she joined our Community in 1954, she studied nursing and midwifery at Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna and worked as a staff nurse.

After our 1967 renewal Chapter, Sister Sophie wanted to learn more about holistic care. She took a one-year diploma course in psychiatric nursing at the All India Institute of Mental Health in Bangalore, and a course in counseling and psychotherapy at the Christian Counseling Center in Vellore. She recalls, “A personal growth and pastoral care course at the Socio-Religious Center in Calicut put me in touch with the specific pastoral aspect of the healing ministry.”

Sister Sophie became involved with formation ministry for seven years, working closely with young people. Following that, she lived and worked in a colony of poor, displaced people in Panackachira. She recalls, “We lived a very simple life in their midst, and shared much of their hardships and struggles. I learned the value of being a compassionate listener, and being simple enough to be of help in small ways as the opportunity presented itself.”

In 1998, Sister Sophie joined the pastoral care team at Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital in Bharananganam, India, where she appreciates the good interaction between the medical staff and the pastoral team. She shares, “I have learned to put people at ease, introduce them to the ‘hospital routines’ and accompany them through their stay.”

She explains, “Pastoral visits are occasions of sharing on the whole process of life, health, healing, and the role of illness and healthy lifestyle…many a time, people return home with much hope and a more positive outlook on life.”

Sister adds, “Accompanying terminally ill and dying persons is a strenuous, yet rewarding, experience…pastoral care is healing ministry.”

December 1, 2010