The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

Franciscan in its essence.
Missionary in its services
Mary - like in its approach.

» Dedicated to universal mission

» Seek strength from the Eucharist

» And offer ourselves in challenging services

Life Shared

Begin to see God

Begin to see God in everything and everybody will begin to see God in you

Often we take for granted much of life. If only we sit back and give it a thought as to how we are here today, we will be completely taken by surprise. This is what happened to us for the past 7 days here at Asirbhavan. We were in great admiration of India and of its ancient and diverse culture, tradition, literature, religion, language and spirituality. After attending the classes on Indian Christian Spirituality   we can proudly say that ‘We are Indians and we continue to be happy Indian citizens. 

The book of Sirach 37:23 says “A wise person will instruct his own people and the fruits of his good sense will endure” Yes, we are very much privileged to have classes on Indian Spirituality taken by  a wise, well experienced and  knowledgeable person Sr. Mary John fmm from Ishalaya Ashram.  We felt as if we were in Rishikesh. We enjoyed the silence and solitude and moreover the guided meditations helped us to have union with God and experience him in the Castle of our hearts.

Our learning began with the symbols of different religions and their in-depth meaning, for instance for Hindus ‘Aum’, for Christians ‘cross’, for Sikhs ‘khanda’, for Buddhists ‘dharma Chakra’, for Chinese ‘yingyang’ .

What makes functions and celebrations meaningful and memorable is its auspiciousness. It is brought about by coconut, Purnakumbam, Chandan and Kumkum, taking arathi, incence, camphor, kuthuvilakku, oil lamp, sprinkling of water and flowers.

Sr. Mary John unveiled the treasure hidden in Indian literature and traditions like Sruti meaning what is heard (Revelation, Vedas), Smrthi meaning what is remembered ( Ramayana, Mahabharata), three heterodox systems Buddhism, Jainism and Charvaka, popular Bhakti tradition (Vaishnavism and Saivism) and Dravidian Traditions.

It was a great revelation to us to know and to introspect through the means of four levels of consciousness namely self consciousness (individual), collective consciousness (group), universal consciousness (unity) and Divine consciousness (oneness with the Divine). There is an innate desire in all beings to be re connected to God and dwell in continuous awareness of the presence of God, and of the divine power within.

We used to admire Meera Bai and Andal in our childhood but now we discovered the strength of spirituality behind their lives. These were the two women saints who touched our hearts. They offered themselves to God despite many hurdles and difficulties. We realized that when we begin to see God in everything and everybody, we will begin to see God in us. This is what happened to these two women saints. Like Meera Bai and Andal we want to offer our life to God, meet God in our daily living and finally want to be one with our Lord Jesus. This is our thirst, this is our longing and this is our prayer.

                                                            

On the last day we had an exhibition on the topic “Indian Christian Spirituality and culture”. To our surprise we could become artists, engineers, potters and co-creators of God in exhibiting the Indian culture, religion, tradition, festivals and above all how we adopt them into our Christian Spirituality. The creative presentations were interesting. Sisters invited Br. Joseph SJ, and a teacher from St. Joseph’s School as judges. Along with this exhibition we also demonstrated the four levels of consciousness through dance and enactment and Sr. Usha  read  the commentary on the ashwatha tree which has its roots in heaven and branches on earth. Here the roots represent God and the trunk, the branches, the leaves, flowers and fruits represent people.

The judges were taken aback by the exhibition and our presentation. They appreciated our hard work, creativity, eagerness and enthusiasm. Each one of us was rewarded with surprising gifts. It was a memorable day in our lives. We are thankful to God for Sr. Mary John and our sisters in the community for their constant encouragement and for giving us the opportunity to know about our Indian Spirituality.

Pre-Novices

Asir Bhavan