On 20th April at 8 a.m. Mother Yvonne was given a cordial welcome by the sisters from the south zone, sisters from the Provinces in India and the sisters of Auxilium community in Thanjavur, where the first pioneers landed in 1922. Sr. Lazar Maria Nirmala garlanded mother, Sr.Kumbukal Rosa donned her with a shawl and Sr. Angelina applied kumkum and sandal paste on Mother’s fore head. Mother was given a lively welcome with a rhythmic dance by the school children to the welcome song and led her in procession to the chapel. The Magnificat was sung in Italian to thank god for the presence of Mother general.
After breakfast Mother met the Apostolic School candidates. The day was filled with multifarious events such as the meeting with the VIDES members, Sisters of the south zone in the forenoon, in the evening at 5.00 p.m the blessing and opening of Valponasca memorial of the 90 years presence in India and the solemn Eucharistic celebration.
Meeting with the Apostolic School candidates
Sr. Lazar Maria Nirmala introduced the seven candidates. This year one of them will be entering the Aspirantate and another will join the group of CPCs in Keelaeral and the remaining six will continue their studies in Thanjavur. Sr.Susanna, the assistant was also present with them.
Mother’s address to the candidates: “I am happy to meet you. I am glad that you are here. Here you have the opportunity to study, sisters get to know you and you have gained experience of the life of the sisters. I invite you to know Jesus more and also learn to pray. Make his words your life. Learn to think like Jesus, speak like Jesus, walk like Jesus and be happy like Jesus. Thus you can grow in your Christian life. Share your life with the sisters, learn to be open and lead by your formators. Thus you will grow in your human formation. By living a good Christian life give witness to your companions and be happy always. Learn more about Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello. Develop in you, the desire to realize God’s love in the depth of your heart. Jesus loves you and His love will make you happy. Don Bosco recommended us to be happy. Your special characteristics should be your joy. I will pray for you and you pray for me too. Continue your formative journey. You are fortunate to meet Mother General before entering into the institute. May Mary Guide you always.
Interactions of the candidates:
- Mother we are happy to meet you
- This day I am happier than I would be on my Birth day. I am proud to become a Salesian Sister.We have spiritual talks once a month. The sisters help us in our spiritual journey.
- Mother, here we have a conducive ambient for our growth.
- We will always be worthy children of Jesus.
- We will follow what you have said and we will be Jesus’ children.
- Mother lovingly concluded, think like Jesus, see like Jesus, speak like Jesus, listen like Jesus, walk like Jesus love like Jesus and be happy always. I am giving you the statue of Our lady who is the mother of every vocation. She will help you to do what Jesus tells you. I am waiting to see you as Salesian sisters in a few years time.
Meeting with VIDES Members
Mr. Arul Joseph, President welcomed Mother. Ms. Elavarsi, Secretary honoured Mother with a shawl and Mr. Pazhanisami, Vice President and a lawyer gave a gift. A video clipping was presented on the history and development of VIDES in Chennai Province. There are three hundred and eighty members rendering their service in 29 VIDES Units in 24 INM FMA communities. Ms. Pushpa proposed the vote of thanks.
Excerpts from Mother’s address to VIDES Members: I am very happy to be here with you. You have come from different parts of Tamil Nadu, and I thank you for the welcome, your gifts and the video presentation on your activities. Thanks to the delegates of your centre.
The VIDES members are very courageous. You have a goal and principles and you desire to share this with others. I thank God for he has hidden in your heart a seed of goodness. You are members of the salesian family. There are many VIDES Members all over the world. This movement is growing with lot of experience and it should stimulate you. I have met VIDES Members from Canada, Germany, Italy and Belgium. VIDES has boundaries and we are members of the same family. VIDES members love to serve others we all desire to shout aloud “love is the greatest of all.” I want you to be happy, challenging, with new thinking, with full involvement of the new thoughts. One who has passion to serve others is happy today. You have the determination to serve, raise your life standard through service. On behalf of the FMA world, I want to tell you that we need you.
Meeting with the sisters
Excerpts from Mother’s address to the sisters: I am happy to meet you and celebrate the great day of the 90 years presence in India. Rightly our pioneers landed in this place. This evening during the Eucharistic celebrations we will thank the lord for this event. It is very touching to see that from the work of six pioneers six provinces are born. The first sisters had faith, desired to spread the Gospel and the charism has spread to China, Japan and today we have to thank god for this journey He has made with us. We wish that the salesian charism must spread to other parts India and I wish that the young people respond to this charism. This little seed is destined to grow wider. Let us thank god for the history and for his presence. Let us thank him because the quality of our presence will give quality to our future. We have to thank god for this gift and feel the responsibility to hand over this gift. You have not only carried out their work but you have responded in a new way for this we need to thank god for the fidelity to the charism and newness of the charism. Therefore we are called to be faithful to make it grow and hand over to the younger generation, give new face to the charism. I wish that each one of you feel that you are the institute. Each one of you is chosen by god with your name. God had been looking for you and where you were. He wished that you be a gift to the institute. Each one is carefully chosen to fit into the monument of gratitude to Mary. Every stone is unique and every stone has its own place no stone can be substituted by another. And each one of us must blossom and prosper in the institute.
Blessing of Valponasca Memorial of the 90 years Presence in India
Mother Yvonne arrived at the venue of the Valponasca memorial accompanied by Sr.Magnificat Provincial and the former Provincials Sr. Arokiaswami Mary Celine, Sr. Selvaraj Josephine, Sr. Lazar Bernadine, Sr. Fernando Mary Ann. Fr. Camillus Fernando, former Provincial of Chennai Province Priests, sisters and the young people.
The Valponasca memorial was blessed by Fr. Albert Johnson SDB, Provincial of Trichy and opened by Mother Yvonne during a significant Prayer service animated by Sr. Mathew Siriapushpam, animator of Auxilium college, Regunathapuram at 5.00p.m.
Mother Yvonne in her brief address said: “I am very happy to open the building and may it help us to develop our meditation. Mother Mazzarello had deep piety for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This house will help us to turn our eyes to the Lord which in turn will help the youngsters to learn the Eucharistic piety from us.”
The engineer Mr.Paul was honoured by Mother Yvonne with a gift and a shawl.
The blessing of the Valponasca memorial was followed by a chariot procession with Mother General seated in it with girls dressed like the six pioneers, to celebrate the 90 years path traversed in their footsteps. The cavalcade was lead by the band company of Auxilium school,Thanjavur, Nadeswaram troupe and the dancers. Under the guidance of Sr. May Santiagu, animator of Fr.Patrick Home,Madurai, the thappattam dancers vigorously danced to the beat of the drums.
Eucharistic celebration in thanksgiving for the 90 Presence in India
The solemn Eucharistic celebration in thanksgiving for the 90 years presence was concelebrated by three bishops Fr.Antony Devotta -Trichy, Fr.Yvonne Ambrose -Tuticorin, Fr.Jude Paulraj –Palayamkottai,Fr. Albert Johnson SDB, Provincial of Trichy and twenty one priests. Sr.Irene and Sr.Diana, Sangamam, Keeleral in their introduction recalled the history of the 90 years history of Chennai Province and invited the participants to thank the Lord. His Lordship Fr.Antony Devotta thanked the Salesian sisters for the 90 years presence in India. His grace Fr.Yvonne Ambrose gave an enlightening sermon on the consecrated life. He said that where there is love there is consecration, and one is ready to renounce everything like Abraham. Freedom follows consecration for it is an encounter of a heart that loves God. He invited to reflect at this inner freedom free from all that binds oneself for God turns our life upside down and fulfills what is best for those who give themselves entirely like Mary, our mother. He concluded that God vies with us to do good for us as he did for St.Joseph.The choir for the Eucharistic celebration was guided by Sr. Aruldoss Angelina and Mr.Devanesan.
Celebrations of the 90 years of Presence in India
Mother Yvonne, the revered Bishops, Provincials , Priests, Sisters, Parents, Students and the guests were welcomed by Sr. Magadalene. The solemn thanksgiving Eucharist was followed by felicitation by His grace Fr.Jude Paulraj, who recounted the glorious past of the Province. The Bishops , Salesian Provincial of Trichy, Provincial of the Carmelites , Provincial of Bon Secours were honoured by Sr.Magnificat. Fr.Camillus, former Provincial, Fr.K.O.Louis, Fr.Arul Irudayam, Parish Priest were also honoured. Sr.Jebamani and Sr.Regina Antony coordinated the programme.
The celebrations of the 90 years presence were marked by grandiose cultural Programmes by the young people. A colourful welcome dance in the classical bharatanatyam style was performed by 90 students of Auxilium school, Thanjavur to signify the 90 fruitful years Sr.Magnificat offered felicitations on the occasion of the 90 years presence. The 90 years history of the presence was presented through a imposing video presentation and seven varieties of dances by the young people. The presentation had been prepared by sisters, staff, and the past pupils. The innovative presentation was beautifully rendered through well choreographed dances in the classical and modern style. The young people of Thresepuram performed a dazzling dance.
The young people of Auxilium College, Regunathapuram danced rendering gratitude to God for the marvelous 90 years. The lyrics of the dances were originally composed for the event and the grand finale was the thanksgiving song by the young people and a sparkling dance to the tune was presented by the little ones of Auxilium, Thanjavur.
Sr.Lazar Maria Nirmala, animator of Auxilium,Thanjavur thanked at the end of the magnificent programme