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Sister Anne Kayathinkara

Sister Anne is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 19 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

Sister Anne, the eighth of eleven children, was born in Kerala, India. When she was 19, she left home to serve as a volunteer nurse at Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, India. She recalls, “This was the first time I crossed the boundaries of my native land to go to a faraway place with a new culture, a new language, new people, and a new profession…somehow I knew that God had already taken hold of my hand, and I was being led through new territory on my spiritual path.”

After making First Vows in 1947, Sister Anne was one of four pioneering Medical Mission Sisters who began serving at Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital in Kerala, India. “The people were deeply moved with awe when they saw the young Sisters working in the hospital,” she says. “For the first three months I slept in the hospital ward and when the patients needed something, they would just call me…it was a real family life. What we enjoyed in the beginning was togetherness! We were one with the people, and they were full of appreciation.”

Sister Anne went on to minister at Holy Family Hospital, Mandar; St. Thomas Hospital, Chethipuzha; Mundakayam Medical Trust Hospital; and Holy Family Hospital in Bombay. She says, “I had an adventurous journey as a nurse.” She became vocation promoter and newsletter editor for our South India District – dual positions which she held for six years. In 1973, she was nominated by the Kerala Bishops’ Conference for the new position of General Secretary of All Kerala Vocation Promoters Conference.

In 1987, Sister Anne returned to Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital, where she began pastoral care service. “After 48 years, I was really thrilled to see the changes and developments there.” She presently works in the hospital’s counseling and psychiatry department.

“Looking back over the years, I have come to understand that God took hold of me even before I knew where I was being led,” she says. “I feel that I was chosen to follow in a special way, and I was always held with special protection and care. Today I am even more and more aware of the presence of God.”

January 1, 2010