A Tribute of Love to Sr. Louisa Thuruthiyil CJ (16.04.1932-11.09.2018)

“The Gift of God is Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”
Romans, 6:23.

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead others to righteousness shall shine like stars forever and ever.” Sr. Louisa’s response to the above words from the book of Daniel (12:3), depicting her own life would be, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.” Indeed, she lived singing of the goodness of her Lord and Master until she passed into Eternity quietly and peacefully.

Having sung the praises of the Lord, literally and figuratively for 86 years, Sr. Louisa passed into the eternal abode of Love on 11th September, 2018. Sr. Louisa was born on 16th April, 1932, at Vallichira near Pala, Kerala, of Mary and Mathew Kuriakose, Thuruthiyil. The youngest of seven children, she was baptized as Elizabeth. She grew up in a very devout Catholic family, and little Elizabeth was noted for her gentleness, her piety, her love for Jesus and Mother Mary. As she grew older her great devotion to the Holy Eucharist marked her life and it is amazing that all through her life, even when she was very ill she made it a point to attend Holy Mass daily, a grace God gave to her even till the previous day of her death. It was amazing that even at her last Mass she knelt for the entire time of Consecration in spite of extreme pain on her bruised legs, a practice she adhered to all her life, a sure testimony of her deep devotion and love for the Eucharistic Lord. No pain was too much for her to get ready and walk to the Chapel. Sr. Louisa was blessed with the gift of music and she worked hard as a young religious to teach herself to play the piano besides her regular duties, so that she could help others to sing and praise the Lord. Even on 9th September, two days before her death, her musical voice rang out at Mass still loud and clear. Such was her inner life of prayer and faith.

She was educated in St Mary’s School, Pala, an Institution that fostered many vocations for the mission. Little Elizabeth had nurtured her desire to give herself completely to the Lord and entered the Congregation of Jesus (then known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary). It was indeed a very daring act of trust and courage on the part of Elizabeth to join a foreign Congregation in far away Patna, as one of the First Batch of 8 young aspirants from Kerala in 1950, along with her cousin, Sr Augustine CJ.

Sr. Louisa made her First Profession at Patna on15.04.1953. Her first mission field was in our orphanage at Jeolikote, and served the children with great love. She made her Final Commitment to the Lord on14.04.1959 and was then missioned to St Joseph’s Convent, Patna. During the 65 years of her dedicated life in our Congregation, she has served in various Houses like Patna, Allahabad, Nirmala Convent Jhansi, St Mary’s Convent, Kathmandu, Nepal, Gulni in Bihar, Providence Clinic Pala, a centre for prayer, and finally Sr Louisa was missioned to St Francis’ Convent Jhansi in 1996. For the past 22 years she has given her love and energy in serving the people of Jhansi, as Catechism teacher in our School and Sacred Heart Parish, taking charge of the choir, putting in her best efforts in teaching and guiding the children and anyone in need of good counsel. For several years Sr. Louisa was in charge of our Mary Ward Evening School for the poor children and school dropouts and her encouragement and musical skills made them do well in studies.

For many years after teaching Catechism in the Sacred Heart Parish on Sundays, Sr. Louisa accompanied Rev. Fr Peter Parapullil, (now our beloved Bishop) to teach Catechism to the children of Judepur, a mission she loved. Preparing little children for the reception of the sacraments, especially for First Communion was her greatest delight. She taught little children to love Jesus.

Sr. Louisa suffered for many years from chronic asthma, but it did not prevent her from singing at Mass and teaching Catechism, thanks to her indomitable spirit and zeal in the service of the Lord. Sr. Louisa made it a point to be present for a special weekly Hour of Adoration at St Jude’s shrine, inclement weather or illness was no cause for her absence from this sacred tryst with her divine Master, interceding for all the priests and the Church and the world. Sr. Louisa nurtured a special reverence and love for all God’s priests and prayed for them daily considering it her special mission. She also prayed for her family and nurtured vocations to priesthood and religious life.

Sr. Louisa’s Last 24 hours on earth: On 9th September Sr. Louisa expressed her desire to make her confession to her spiritual director and confessor for the past 16 years, the present Bishop of Jhansi, Rt. Rev. Dr Peter Parapullil. He readily agreed to come to St Francis at 4.00 p.m. the next day. So in the morning of 10th September Sr Louisa had a “Royal Bath”, dressed herself in white habit and well before 4.00 p.m. with the assistance of Sr. Reena walked to the parlor to wait for the Bishop. She had also expressed the wish for anointing of the sick. So the Bishop heard her confession, and then gave her communion and anointing of the sick as she sat in the parlour along with the community. A short time after the Bishop left, Sr. Louisa vomited a bit of blood, and since it was already late in the evening she was taken to St Jude’s hospital for safety sake, little realizing that the countdown had begun before she would face her Lord and Master in person. As Sr. Amita watched over her, Sr. Louisa lay still, praying. A little before 2.00 p.m. Sr. Amita noticed Sr. Louisa’s fingers moving gently as though playing the harmonium, and a glorious smile spread over her face. In a few minutes she sensed that Sr. Louisa was very still indeed and so she called the Doctor who declared that Sr. Louisa’s soul had just taken wings without a flutter. She slept in the Lord whose presence at her moment of death made her smile.

It was indeed a shock for the community who never expected Sr Louisa to go Home so quickly. Yes, 24 Hours after her last encounter with the Eucharistic Lord in the parlour, her mortal remains were laid out in our Convent Chapel, with a radiant smile on her face. A True daughter of Mary Ward who

Sr. Benigna Arappathanath C J - 21. 03. 1948 –28. 09. 2013

Sr. Benigna was born on 21st March 1948 in Kerala. At the age of 17 she left her beloved home with other 8 companions full of enthusiasm for the Lord’s mission and reached Allahabad where she spent her formative years in the Congregation of Jesus. She was marked by a deep life of faith. After her novitiate, on 2nd February 1970 she made her first profession and was in Patna for her life in community. During her juniorate she completed her higher studies and at the same time grew in spiritual life making her roots firm in the Lord and in the spirituality of the congregation. Her final commitment was on 2nd February 1976.

Thereafter she was missioned to various communities like, Nirmala Jhansi, Mumbai, Nainital, Rihand Nagar and Meja. From 1991 – 1994 she served the generalate community in Rome. After her return from Rome she was assigned as a vocation promoter and her hard work and dedication brought many young girls to join the congregation. Wherever she worked she excelled in her vocation as a teacher; every student became a focus of her individual attention. She was equally energetic on the playground too. In 2010 she was appointed as a student counselor in St. Mary’s, Mayur Vihar, Delhi. Besides her mission of counseling, she was an enthusiastic catechism teacher both in the school and in the Church.

In September 2013 she was diagnosed with dengue which had weakened her whole system. On 27th she was shifted to the ICU and by evening she got into a comma from which she never recovered. In the morning at 5. 30 am she passed into eternity hearing the words of her Master, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” May Jesus who called you and accompanied you welcome you into His Kingdom of Eternal Peace.

Sr. Amanda Valakamattam C J - 16.09.1929 – 18.03.2014

Born on 16th September 1929 in Kerala, Sr. Amanda joined the Patna mission in 1950 heeding to her Master’s call. Sister belonged to the pioneering group of missionaries who dared to leave her home and dear ones to join the group of German sisters of the Congregation of Jesus. After her candidacy, postulancy and novitiate she made her first commitment in 1954 and the final vows in 1960. From her first profession she was engaged with the children – taking care of the children in the boarding. From 1985 to 2005 she was in Ramnee, the junior boarding department. Thousands of children remember her with love and affection.

The Ignatian spirit of availability was the hall mark of her life. Nothing extraordinary yet a simple, dedicated life lived in the company of her Master, sharing her time and energy with the students and sisters was commendable. Anyone who met her while alive, would have encountered in her God’s face. On 9th March 2014 she took seriously ill and was anointed. From then on sisters and fathers prayed incessantly for her and with her. After nine days of intense suffering, the final end came on 18th March at 8. 20. a.m while all the sisters prayed with her.

You have gone ahead of us,
It is hard to say, ‘good bye’
You have found that peace and joy
And in God’s heavenly home
It’s YOU, not we, who truly live.

Sr. Amata Kundukulam C J – 18.11.1935 – 18.07.2014

Born on 18th November 1935 in Kerala, Sr. Amata, hearing the call of Jesus, joined the Patna mission in 1958. She was a person loved deeply by God and people. Her secret weapon was her Rosary and the Blessed Virgin Mary was her mother at whose feet she brought all those entrusted to her care during the 56 years of her religious life. She made her first profession in 1960 and her final vows in 1966. During her active ministry in the congregation she animated many of our communities and rendered her service in various houses as a teacher, boarding in charge and through general help. In May 2014 she was diagnosed with cancer and that made her very weak. She went home to say good bye to all and after her return from home she moved about only a little. Her sense of resignation to the will of God was exemplary; as a true daughter of Mary Ward she accepted her failing health cheerfully and wholeheartedly. From 12th July she was very weak and she asked to be anointed. On 18th evening with all her sisters praying around her she breathed her last. Life was changed for her , not taken away.

You were among us as a wisdom figure, an elder sister who walked with us guiding and inspiring us, a friend rejoicing with us and sharing our life’s challenges and a source of encouragement to walk in the way of the Lord. Thank you Sr. Amata for what you have been to each of us in Nainital community.

Sr. Beatrice Edaparambil C J – 29. 09. 939 – 10.08.2015

Sr. Beatrice was born on 29th September in 1939 in Kerala. She joined the Congregation of Jesus in 1960 and made her first commitment in 1963 and final commitment in 1969. As a zealous missionary she contributed much in the field of education and for the formation of faith. She rendered her loving and dedicated services in various communities of Indian provinces as an excellent teacher. All those who came in contact with her experienced the living presence of God. Since 1993 she was a member of Jeolikote community and contributed generously for the growth of the school and parish. She lived a simple, quiet and unassuming life. On 8th August evening as usual she attended the Holy mass, had dinner together and then went to her room for her night sleep. Around 11.00 p.m. she complained of severe headache and so we rushed her to the hospital in Haldwani. Her condition was so poor that the doctors could not do anything to revive her from her weak condition; on 10th August she breathed her last as her sisters prayed around her.

“I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race
I have kept the faith
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness… ”