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Joy of accompanying college students 

By: Sr. Surekha Nayak

“Look back and get experience
Look forward and see hope
Look around and see reality
Look within and feel confidence.”

This is what I have experienced when I heard first from Sr. Cessy, our provincial superior of Sisters of Holy Cross of Chavanod of Calcutta Province that I will be appointed at St. Xavier’s College hostel to look after the young girls along with Sr. Christy Amala.

Yes, at first my heart was swollen with fear, anxiety and confusion. I did not know what to answer to the Provincial but my immediate response was ‘yes, I will go.’

As I was preparing myself to come to the hostel, I could remember the words spoken by one of my retreat preachers, “when God needs, He prepares the person according to the place and work.”

Gradually strong confidence and courage arose from within.Thereafter, with full of zeal and enthusiasm I along with Sr. Amala landed in the institution of St. Xavier’s College hostel to render my service to the college studying young girls.

This is a twin hostel, where both boys and girls are in the same campus. Boys are taken care of by a Jesuit priest of Kolkata Jesuit province and the girls are taken care of by us.

For me it was a new venture. But now looking at one and half years of my past life in this hostel, I feel that I am blessed and fortunate to be like a friend and much more like their elder sister to them.

I guide and help the youngsters according to their need. Always I remember our beloved mother foundress of the Congregation Claudine who specially loved the young girls and motivated them to come up in their lives. In fact I do feel her spiritual presence in and around me and in my ministry.

At present 170 students from different parts of India are staying in this hostel. We have around 65 Catholic students and four B.Ed student nuns. The rest belong to other religions. All of them stay as one large family, although all have their varied cultural, religious and social milieu. We find common and convergence point to relate and live enriching each other’s life experiences and grow together.

Besides my other spiritual exercises, we have daily Mass which gives me strength to face the challenges and difficulties. The most interesting part of my responsibility is to accompany these young women to be responsible citizens with good moral and human values, so that they have good array of good values to bank on in life, while gaining their confidence to face challenges of life along with their academic learning and career pursuits.

When there is some fest specially hostel day, students are happy to bring out their hidden talents through different cultural programmes, sports and music.

They are smart, talented and ambitious. They love to be fashionable in this fast moving world. The life of students and their way of living is different in many ways, yet they are simple, co-operative and friendly. I feel happy and sure that our presence in the hostel makes a much difference for them.

As we all know and experience personally that when we try to throw all our tensions and worries through the windows, it enters through the main doors. Exactly at times due to various reasons we find bit difficult because it is not that easy but risky and challenging.

We only keep our total trust and confidence in the Divine Providence because God who has called us would grant us the necessary grace in every circumstance of our life and our journey.

(Sr. Surekha Nayak, a member of Sisters of Holy Cross of Chavanod of Calcutta Province, works as hostel in-charge at St. Xavier’s College Hostel for girls, Kolkata, West Bengal).

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