By Malini Manjoly
Patna: A Catholic nun, who preached the gospel of joy for 42 years, died in the early hours of November 10 at Mokama in Bihar.
Sister Lucia Thuluvanickel, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, was 75. She was popularly known as Sister Lucia. She died of prolonged kidney disease, the congregation’s Patna provincial house informed Matters India.
The funeral is scheduled at 11:30 am on November 11 at Mokama, some 100 km southeast of Patna, the state capital.
Sister Lucia, a native of Kerala, joined the Nazareth congregation 57 years ago and a professed Sister for 49 years. She worked mostly in Bihar.
“A generation of Charismatic Renewal Movement leaders in India has come to an end with the death of Sister Lucia,” says Jesuit Father K M Joseph, who has worked in Bihar for more than a half century.
“The Church now lacks such passionate and enthusiastic people for the proclamation of the gospel,” he said during a memorial Mass for Sister Lucia.
A trained general and public health nurse, Sister Lucia was introduced to charismatic retreats in early 1970s by Father Jim Borst, a Dutch Mill Hill missionary who worked mostly in Jammu and Kashmir state.
Sister Lucia had a deep commitment and vision to preach that she combined the physical healing with the spiritual healing from early years, Sister Joel Urumpil said.
“Sister Lucia used her time and energy to bring religious and lay people to deeper union with God,” said Sister Rosemarie Lakra, one of her companions. She was instrumental in forming charismatic retreat groups in Bihar, especially in Patna archdiocese.
She began her preaching ministry based at a remote healthcare centre in Sokho, a remote village in Jamui district of Bihar. Her mentor and guide was American Jesuit missionary Father Daniel Thomas Rice who worked from Sokho.
“Lucia embraced a holistic approach through inner healing in treating simple villagers, drug addicts, alcoholics,” said Sister Philomena Kottoor, the provincial of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Patna.
“Sister Lucia reached out to persons and families in distress through counselling and prayer,” said Bishop Cajetan Francis of Muzaffarpur. He further said that Sister Lucia visited people in the market place and freely and fearlessly talked about Jesus and distributed ‘Vachandhara’ (The Word flow), a publication from Fatima Retreat Centre in Patna.
Sister Teresa Kotturan, former provincial of Patna, hailed Sister Lucia for her “single-minded focus” to help anyone in need, “especially the troubled ones”. She further said that Lucia’s compassion for people living in poverty took her to places and persons who could help them.
“Lucia had an urgency to bring about a transformation into the lives of the people,” added Kotturan, who now lives in New York as the NGO Rep representative at UN New York for Sisters of Charity Federation.