FEAST OF GRATITUDE Auxilium Bandel
14.04.2013

We, the sisters of Auxilium Convent Bandel, had our discussion on “Seed of Faith sown in your soil- yesterday”. As we had reflected on the past lived by our pioneering sisters, our thoughts turned to God Almighty Thanking Him for their tremendous self sacrificing life, daring spirit, immense love of God and for souls in shaping those lives lived under their vigilant care brought us to this glorious present in celebrating 90 years of fruitful reaping. We are proud of our Mother Province Chennai under whose direction, care and under their able guidance gave birth and growth of the six provinces in India.

We looked at our own soil of Bengal, Kolkata Province that was bifurcated from The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shillong (INS) on 10th. February1987. Our Community of Auxilium Bandel was established in the year 1951.

The seed of faith was sown by the Portuguese settlements in Bengal in the year 1579. To protect their interests the Portuguese built a fort. Portuguese conquest always went hand in hand with the spreading of the Gospel, and so they soon secured the services of a small band of Augustinian Friars, the largest body in Goa.
In 1599 a monastery was established in Bandel, a village at a distance of about a mile from the Factory. It became the headquarters of the zealous missionaries. In a short time two churches were built within the limits of the factory; a military chapel was added to the fort; and the poor were provided from the establishment of an alms-house under the title ‘Santa Casa da Misericordia’. The alms-house also served as an educational institution where the rich and the poor alike received the benefits of a sound Christian education. The presence of the miraculous statue of our Lady of Happy voyage attracts people of all walks of life.

• Our pioneering Sisters who lived in Bandel were: Sr. Clotilde Appiano, Sr. Angela Daglio, Sr. Alice Correa and Sr. Eugenia Cazzuli. The then Provincial Sr. Cesira Gallina after her was Provincial Sr. Teresa Merlo. They continued sowing the seed of faith by visiting families, teaching Catechism in the school and the parish. Health care was offered to the people particularly attention was given to the poor. Their witnessing life as religious their simple life style lived for God alone and for the mission which drew souls towards God.

• Challenges that we encounter in the community life, like candidates those that enter our Institute come from a shallow faith back –ground, their educational preparation is from secular Institutions so faith life is not that strong. Language problem, custom and cultures vary. In the mission too again we face problem as students come from diverse religious background. Young people are caught up by Media that fascinates them. Young people are more prone to easy way of life. They are disturbed they are not given a proper place in their family. The pressure from parents for their children’s’ academic excellence rather than forming their characters.

• In this secular world of ours we need to be a witnessing, understanding and listening community, living an authentic relationship among us and with our recipients. In other words, we need daily to live a life of conversion. And the transformation will bring in our lives being faithful to the call of our GCXIII that invites us “Being with the young people today, A home that evangelises.”

By Bandel Community

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We, the community of Mary Our Help Training Centre, Bellefonte, Shillong-India, (INS) send our filial greetings to our beloved Mother General on the occasion of the World Gratitude Day. The report of the study and reflection on the three questions are a proof that we, her daughters are committed to renewing our “being and relating as a way of evangelising”. God bless our beloved Mother General! Long live! Viva Gesu!

1. The Seed sown yesterday refers to the work of our first missionaries in the receptive soil of the heart of the people then.
• They were:
 persons of God, deeply prayerful, credible witnesses by their life more than words.
 filled with zeal for souls which made their way even through the jungles on foot to the villages
 true lovers of poverty depriving themselves of conveniences and comfort to be with the people
 true daughters of Our Lady
• They:
 evangelised in a manner which took deep root in the lives of the people. As a result, the same zeal is kept alive today by those who received it from them even to the point of giving up their lives to bear witness to Christ and his Gospel.
 brought the love of Christ, believed in, and built on the positive aspects of the cultures of the local people
• Their:
 only aim was to make Christ known and loved by all especially poor youth
 unconditional love and concern enabled them to live their faith with the same intensity of the first Christians
 spirit of sacrifice and selfless dedication were manifested through the mission in the oratories, family visits and village apostolate, schools and boardings for poor girls.
 great spirit of detachment such as “never to return home” once they left for the missions

2. The Challenges today:
a) at community level: secularism, materialism, consumerism and relativism (products of globalisation) that the world faces today affect us too, resulting in:
 self centeredness rather than Christ centeredness
 shallow faith and superficiality
 relationship problems among ourselves and with the people
 individualism
 success oriented and
 comfort seeking

b) in the Mission today:
 poor faith that weakens commitment and total dedication
 poor knowledge about the world, youth and the people at large today
 lack of endurance and easy compromise in difficult situations
 self complacency and luke-warmness

3. New ways of Evangelisation
 self evangelisation through faith-filled reading of the Word of God, allowing it to challenge and transform us
 deep sacramental life
 going out to the people in humility and simplicity in order to establish better relationship with the people
 believing in the goodness that exists in every person and avoiding any form of discrimination and partiality
 commitment to the culture of life and the sacredness of the family
 using the new media in evangelisation
 giving valid contribution to different forms of ecumenical movement since we are in a multi-religious context
 trust and confidence in Mary: the Star of Evangelisation

Mary Our Help Training Centre,
Bellefonte, Shillong-India, (INS)
Dated: April 16, 2013

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FMA – Outreach
Lurshai, P.B. No. 19
Shillong
Meghalaya – INDIA

Happy Feast dear Mother and we are happy to have you in our land.

Feast of Gratitude 2013: Together in Faith towards fullness of Life
• Seed of Faith sown in your soil yesterday
The seed of Christian faith is well sown by the Missionaries with love, sacrifice, dedication and joy. They gave their best and left no stone unturned; there was no boundary to reach souls bringing the people to God.

The people were very receptive to the work rendered by the missionaries. They accepted the faith and the message of the Gospel which is handed over from generation to generation by remaining faithful to the teachings received.

• Challenges you encounter in living the faith in the community and in the mission today
Community:
- A deep prayer life that strengthens faith.
- Expectation from the elders as models for living in faith
- Difficulty to accept persons, events and situations of life which led to shallow faith
- Spirit of forgiveness

• Mission:
- Witnessing life as a person having deep faith in Jesus
- Many times we never bring people closer to Christ but draw them towards oneself
- Lack of support from the community
- Spiritual and psychological poverty
Eg: Broken family that affects the young people
Value of life is lost and is being questioned by the young people

• New ways for a evangelization tomorrow
- Know our faith and grow in faith through concrete faith formation sessions.
- Formation of groups – peer group for sharing faith experiences
- Value Education

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Auxilium Convent
Training Centre
Saiden, Nongpoh
Shillong - Meghalaya
23 - April - 2013

In Preparation for the Feast of Gratitude 2013

  • Seed of Faith sown in our soil yesterday

Even though the soil in our land was rough and tough at the beginning yet the hard work, untiring sacrifices, dedication and endurance of our first missionaries in spreading the faith, that was sown sprouted and grew everywhere. Now we could say that, it’s because of them the message of Christ has reached even to the remotest part of our soil and we need to imbibe from the source who is Jesus Himself so as to be His living witnesses, and that the faith that was sown once may continue to bear abundant fruit.

  • Challenges we encounter in living the faith in the community and the mission today

Prayer moments are part and parcel of our daily living, yet we could say a deep prayer life is still lacking when it becomes like a routine, when we least value the persons more than things  and when our witnessing life is not much evident.
Regarding the Mission especially in dealing with the young people in our formation house we find lack of real depth in faith and poor families’ background.  In our oratories we find lack of loving and cordial relationship in the families and the parents have no more time for the children especially for their spiritual growth. In visiting the families a good number of Catholics do not value much the Sunday’s Service, hence they easily neglect their Christian duties.
Advanced modern technologies and lack of reference point from the part of the young people are other points of challenges that we face in our mission.

  • New ways for a evangelization tomorrow

Education in our schools would be the best means to evangelize the young minds especially those who are under our care. Updating ourselves according to the signs of the time as our Father and Founder would repeatedly say so. To give responsibility and trust to the young and believe that they can do the best they could. To create a conducive atmosphere where the young people should feel welcomed, loved and appreciated

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AUXILIUM CONVENT, NONGTHYMMAI- SHILLONG (INS)