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UNION OF SISTERS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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Celebrating 50 Years as Presentation Sisters in India

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19/01/2018

Sr Agnela distinctly recollects the day she and four Sisters – Srs Mary Augustine, Suma, Filipa and Sophie travelled to Shillong and Imphal, nestled in the North Eastern States of their country, India – a land of mystique and of various Tribal groups who speak their own language and dialect. They will never forget in their life time that journey, so far away from southern States of India. The trip was also a spiritual journey into their inner selves. 

They were not looking for the flora or fauna like an eco-tourist would. They wanted more to experience the Divine in and around them. The winding narrow roads led them to ‘Siloam’ – a Salesian Institute of Transformation and Research centre. On the way, they saw the Garo hills, the glorious large lake, the turbulent waters brushing rudely against the huge rocks. Everything about these two places was majestic, grandoise and magnificent. The eight-day retreat for them was conducted in the Jesuit Novitiate House, Mawsheoh in Shillong – a hilly region. Their retreat was directed by Fr Albert, SJ and the deep inner silence and contemplation helped them to experience the Triune God deeply within them. 

During the retreat, Sr Agnela felt that God was holding her closer than ever to Him. Surely the beautiful natural beauty of the hills and the hours of stillness helped her once again to open the door of her heart and surrender, totally, her life to Him as she invited Him into her heart...She pondered: “Only with His grace can I even bow down to Him.” 

The hospitality shown to them by Fr George Palamatam, SDB (Sr Filipa’s brother) is worth mentioning. A gentle and caring person, Fr George is the Director of Siloam Research centre. The five Sisters shared their 50 years of life story as Presentation Sisters. They remembered and prayed for all those who had moulded them and touched their lives. They continued the stillness and contemplation to keep them in touch with the Divine. The place is blessed with the elegance of natural beauty and one can effortlessly and easily slip into meditation and solitude. 

Their journey to Imphal taught them that every journey in their life has something to teach us. Sr Agnela’s cousin, Sr Louis, the Vicar General, welcomed them and accommodated them in the Diocesan Retreat House. The Archbishop, most Rev Dominic Lumon, gave them a warm welcome. They had their jubilee Celebration at Imphal and Shillong with the Tribals dancing for them as they adorned them with shawls and gifts. Fr George gave them a grand dinner at the Siloam Centre, Shillong. He presented them with Naga shawls and a lovely handbag each. The Sisters at the Convent of Sr Mary Augustine’s sister gave them a warm shawl each also. 

Fifty years of life and their union with Christ helped them to pass on to the coming generation their message, their testimony of how God has blessed them and fulfilled His plans for them: “The one who blessed others, is abundantly blessed and those, who help others, are helped.” With a grateful heart they thank their Provincial and her Team and their Local Animators and Sisters of their communities for giving them this opportunity of spending cherished moments in the North East States of India.

“Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you” is a meaningful message (1 Thess 5:16-18). Let us continue to abide by it as we continue to walk the journey of our Presentation way of life, upholding one another and bringing joy into the lives of lonely and depressed hearts and of those in any kind of need. 

Submitted by: Sr Agnela Cholikara, PBVM

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