10 How Good God is! - Juanita Gonsalves

posted Nov 9, 2017, 2:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 9, 2017, 2:28 AM ]
An overview of the bicentennial celebration of the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary at St Anne High School, Pune

Two Hundred years! Indeed, a milestone to be honoured, cherished and celebrated. We are grateful to Our Heavenly Father, who blessed us with St Claudine—a woman whose charism set the foundation for perseverance, good will and hard work all over the world. We thank Claudine, for her YES to serve the Lord.

Could she have ever imagined that her humble and simple 'Yes', her journey begun in poverty and simplicity with one companion, one orphan and one loom, on October 6, 1818, would cross the 200 year milestone, spanning 28 countries?

Claudine was deeply moved by the miseries of her time (the French Revolution); in particular, the unjust execution of her two brothers. But their last words to her, "Forgive, Glady, as we forgive" were to remain deep within her heart and mind, and would fuel the inner fire to dedicate herself to relieve the great suffering caused by the French Revolution.

She realised that the most poignant source of people's distress was their ignorance of God, and so she made it her mission to make Him and His love known to all, and she would begin with the education of children and young people. Her ardent desire to reach out to the poorest of the poor, educate them and love them without condition has made itself manifest in all the institutions and good work (especially with regards to women empowerment) put in by the Sisters of her Congregation in 28 countries spread across 4 continents.

So today, how do we commemorate her 'Yes' to the Lord? Do we merely celebrate and make it a spectacle? Or do we take this time to introspect and ask ourselves what can we, as individuals, do to carry this legacy forward?

At St Anne's, we have had and will continue to have sessions through the year that are centered on the theme of FAITH, FORGIVENESS AND COMMUNION. Each session, which focuses on an aspect from the life of St Claudine includes a short story/ incident, and questions for reflection is conducted for the Sisters, Teaching Staff, Students and also PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) members.

These sessions are not only aimed at a deeper understanding of the virtues, charism and ideals of Claudine; rather, they are a means to make these virtues relevant and necessary in today's world as well. With such a rapidly developing world, do we have time to stop and pick up the weak along the way? Do we make time for others? Do we reach out with genuine love and concern, or with vested interests? These sessions address a very vital question: are values based in humanity still essential in a world that is fast becoming digital, mechanical and technologised? How do we still maintain our shreds of humanity in a world where no one has the time and energy to spend on people who are unable to stay in the race? These sessions are aimed at helping each one of us realise that we are NOT bigger than Him, and we can do nothing without His help and guidance.