By Purushottam Nayak
Kandhamal: A new member of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa from Kandhamal, Odisha, says the worst anti-Christian violence in modern history of India prompted her to dedicate her life for Christ and society.
“I have seen the pain and agony of my people in the time of anti-Christian violence of 2007-2008. My people were persecuted, tortured inhumanly and killed for the sake of Christ. It really encouraged me to remain firm in my faith,” Sister Kristina Pradhan told Matters India.
She along with Sisters Rajani Ekka and Janani Pradhan (no relation) made their final profession on April 8 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Balliguda, Kandhamal, Odisha.
About 500 people, 24 priests and 20 women religious attended the ceremonies led by Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. The archdiocese covers Kandhamal district.
“God has given you special call for his Kingdom. It is through your commitment and dedication you will be able to fulfil God’s will,” Archbishop Barwa said in his homily. He urged them to be watchful and prudent in their religious life. “You are invited to inculcate the virtues like patience, perseverance, strong hope in the Lord, readiness in every moment to meet the Lord the five wise virgins possess,” added the Divine Word prelate.
Sisters Kristina Pradhan, 32, is from Kurtumgarh parish that faced severe attack during the violence ten years ago. She was a candidate in the congregation then.
Sister Janani Pradhan from Rutungia, a remote parish managed by Jesuits, said neither fear nor threat could force her to give up her life. “The pain and agony of anti-Christian violence increased my determination to persevere in my vocation to religious life,” she added.
Her mother, Rashmi, who was present at the ceremony, said she was proud that her daughter has dedicated her life to God totally.
The congregation’s Bhopal provincial, Sister Ann Jose, said she thanked the parents for the new members.
The congregation, now known as the Institute of Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa, was founded at Ernakulam, Kerala, in 1887 by Sister Teresa of St. Rose of Lima.
Living with the compassionate love of God in contemplation is called to live in communion with her sisters and promote justice towards all, especially the poor and the marginalized is the charism.
It has now 14 members from Kandhamal. They are among about 1,000 members working in India, Africa, Kenya, Abu Dhabi, and Canada.
Its five Indian provinces are Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, North , Eastern and Central.