My Dear Parishioners,
In two weeks we will welcome a Religious Sister from the Daughters of Mary in the St. Joseph Province of Tamil Nadu, India. She will be here to speak on behalf of the missionary work going on in her diocese. This is part of the annual Mission Cooperative Appeal facilitated by the Propagation of the Faith.
The Daughters of Mary is a Missionary Congregation started at Marthandam in 1938 by an Indian Missionary priest, Msgr. Joseph Kuzhinjalil. The main purpose of starting this Congregation was to serve the poor people for their spiritual and temporal growth and development. The congregation has a total number of 1101 religious sisters, and their province has 207 sisters serving missions in 47 different locations in Tamil Nadu, Tanzania, and Africa. Their primary apostolate is evangelization through personal contact. They meet the people in the parishes, mission stations, in their homes, in the streets, in the slums, in the hospitals, schools and wherever they are called. They teach the catechism, the rosary, and the scriptures. The sisters invite the people to the sacraments, and to church. In most of the situations they are involved with assisting with the people’s most basic needs, for example teaching them how to clean, proper sanitation, etc. As the sisters grew to understand the peoples’ needs, they had to expand their apostolate. Now they assist in orphanages and old age homes, rehabilitation centers for lepers, shelter for the mentally ill and hospice for terminal cancer and AIDS patients. The sisters also set up social work centers to train women for job opportunities and education.
The sisters have sent the following message as the purpose for this specific appeal:
We seek and plead for your valuable prayers and generous support to help the mentally ill women in the streets. In our day to day ministry we come across many mentally ill women on the streets. Once a person is identified with mental illness they are not accepted by their family members or by the society and they are thrown out. They depend on the garbage cans of the restaurants for food. Most of them are completely naked or wear torn dresses. They sleep in the streets, parks, railway stations, and in the shop corridors and they are abused by street gangsters. They even get pregnant in the streets and are also infected by AIDS in the streets. They are often chased by policemen and even put in chains. The streets are no longer safe for these women. They often scream and cry out from pain, loneliness, rejection, hunger, thirst and most especially because of painful memories of their past.
The sisters list the objectives of this Appeal as: to provide shelter for the mentally ill women wandering the streets of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu; to provide proper care for their basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter; to provide them proper medical care and treatment; to make the ill-treated feel that they are also human beings like everybody else; and to be the voice for the voiceless.
Sister will be here to speak to us the weekend of August 18-19th. Please note the Second Collection for the Mission Co-Op will take place the following weekend, on Aug. 25-26.
God Bless you.