Despite the years of experience she had under her belt as a Medical Mission Sister (MMS), it was a group of youngsters who helped to ignite Sister Rose Vypana’s passion for environmental justice. When the young people came to her at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Hospital in Kerala, South India, to express their concern about the sewer draining from local hotels into the river, she joined them in a protest march.
“Their voluntarism touched me deeply as they opened the doors of a new ecological awareness for me,” Sister Rose shares. “Through them I was exposed to the needs of empowering women and children and protecting trees. I began to make songs and slogans to spread ecological awareness.”
Born into a loving family of 12 children in Kerala, Sister Rose has had a lifelong passion for caring for others. Because her family had a relationship with MMS at IHM hospital, Sister Rose saw and was inspired by the enthusiasm the Sisters showed in caring for their patients.
The experience led her to enter MMS in 1969 and to later study general nursing and midwifery at Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi. Today she works as a community health nurse and serves as the head of the Department of Community Health at IHM. In addition to participating in community activism, Sister Rose is especially concerned with providing healthcare to those who are disadvantaged.
Sister Rose shares, “Tireless service to the sick and the needy gives me internal joy and happiness. Nursing is a noble profession. My mother always used to say that she hoped one of her children would be a nurse.”