We have an End: The glory of the Heart of Jesus.A Mission: To Discover and make known the Love of His Heart.A spirituality: to be United and conformed to the Heart of Jesus. A Service in the Church and in the world of today: Transformative Education with a Preferential Love for the poor.

Opening of Prerana

PRERANA – Inaugural 6th March 2014, ‘12 Noon – When the Angelus Toll’.

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Seated in the Shamania on the grounds of ‘Prerana’, interacting with guests and waiting for Bishop Thomas Dabre to arrive, I found myself reflecting on the words of Sophie: “the more we learn the more we realize we do not know”.  In our midst were Sisters Hiroko rscj and Kim Sook Hee rscj members of our Central Government in Rome, and our chief guests for the occasion.  Their presence sparked off an entry into “Buddhist mindfulness,” that we were on the brink of something new that was about to happen! -  Sophie reminds us that into every new foundation go “rubble and stubble”, so essential for strong foundations to support the whole edifice.  In addition she reminds us “humility is the corner stone of every new adventure” (from a letter to Rose Philippine).

The previous evening’s cloudburst with drenching rain initially dismayed those of us who were engaged in the completion of the final preparations for the inaugural.  But the morning sun had dispelled our fears, even as the washed pathways and the cool and clean earth lent a finishing touch to our preparations for the mid-day event.

Bishop Thomas Dabre arrived at 12.10. After initial greetings, we proceeded to the main entrance of Prerana.  At 12. 30.p.m., His Lordship pulled the silk cord  drawing aside the drapes covering  the name “PRERANA” and blessing the entrance, declared Prerana open for mission and ministry in Pune.  For those of us who had been associated closely with this initiative, it was a special and  intense  moment as our thoughts flashed  back across the years, a decade and   more that had gone by since the purchase of the plot on 12 September 2003.

As the Bishop blessed the house, the Rscj and guests entered this new abode singing “On this house your blessing Lord, on this house your blessing send” and as the blessing of the rooms followed we asked God to let the doors be ever open to welcome people, and windows ever ready to let in His shining light.  Spontaneous prayers of thanksgiving and petition followed. Bishop Dabre had given the lead setting aside the formal text of blessing which had been offered to him. Sisters Kim Sook Hee, Hiroko, Rita, Charlotte, Livi, Teresa, Marie, Pratibha followed. Then the Bishop asked for a prayer in Marathi, which Sr Irene responded. The simplicity of this ceremonial was moving. This was followed by the Bishop’s proverbial “few words” that extended into a long eulogy of praise.

As soon as Fr Alex Quadros (Parish Priest of the Tadiwalla Church) returned from blessing the  rooms  and Chapel upstairs, we proceed to the mulit-purpose  hall for the liturgy of the Mass. Set  up against the backdrop of a curtain of single strands of pale, yellow marigolds, the Altar was flanked on either side by two  large vases of orange gerbera surmounted by  white gladioli. A prayerful silence enveloped the congregation interspersed with the melodies of the Choir composed of RSCJs’ our candidates, and four FMM novices, under the direction of Trevor and Sr. Jokina.  The singing of the Entrance Bhajan, the Kyrie, Offertory, Sanctus Agnus Dei and Communion lent a certain solemnity and devotion to the liturgy that was enriching.  The Communion Hymn “It is Your Name We Bear in Our Hearts” bonded the RSCJ’s present even as others shared in our joy as we sang the recessional “St Madeleine Sophie, pray for us to God…”

In his homily, His Lordship shared how much he cherished his relationship with our Society over many years; his appreciation of the high quality of education imparted in our institutions, the collaborative effort of our sisters, recalling our efforts at interfaith dialogue, spear-headed by our late Sister Sara Grant as his mentor while he was writing his dissertation on Tukaram. All his three interventions, during the opening blessing, at the homily during Mass and his final speech at the end reiterated the same sentiments of appreciation and gratitude for services rendered, gratitude for high standards of quality  education and the oft- repeated assurance of help when we needed it.

The liturgy concluded, a short interval followed for rearranging furniture etc. for the next step of the celebration. It was a time for some short relaxation and drinks and snacks were served – This helped as it was already 2 p.m., well past the lunch hour. Sr. Pratibha was the M.C for the Welcome and the Felicitation Function that followed, a role which she performed efficiently. This part of the programme began with a beautiful welcome prayer dance “Harsh Manao” by the students of St. Clare’s High School followed by a Welcome Speech by Sr. Rita. A special word of introduction and welcome to Srs Hiroko and Kim Sook – Hee. our Central Councillors. The time was at hand for acknowledging the services of those who had participated in the realization the “Prerana” dream: Architect, Mr Sane and Associate, (Rituja). Contractor, Mr Padgaonkar and others including electrical contractors, assistance with permissions Mr Rajnikant and a host of others. Then the RSCJ., Srs Marie,  Pratibha (&Sr. Rita)as Provincials, Sr. Mariaelena as Provincical Treasurer, Sr. Livi and Sr. Teresa  and Sr. Jokina who had overseen the construction of the  building, also thanks to all those who had got the building ready for the opening function.

For the Felicitations which followed, Sr. Pratibha had an appropriate word for each recipient while the audience applauded with clapping of hands.  Bishop Dabre headed the queue, followed by Sisters Hiroko and Kim Sook Hee, followed by the Architects, Contractors, Persons from the Town Planning, the Security staff etc, no one was forgotten. Each expression of gratitude was unique.  Each Awardee received the customary shawl, flowers and a coconut. There were gifts for the Architects, Contractors etc. Bishop Dabre’s expression of gratitude flowed into his usual eulogy and assurance of his ever readiness to offer help. Bishop Dabre emphasized that the opening of PRERANA was important for the diocese of Pune. This new beginning meant that his diocese was alive. He expressed the hope that the Nursery classes would soon (next year) expand into primary and secondary school education and even College and University education.!!!   The atmosphere was so warm and friendly.

The next step was the response from our chief guests, Sisters Hiroko and Kim Sook Hee – a special round of applause was a sign of their “belonging” to us. Their expression of gratitude was unique, tinged with oriental graciousness and charm. Hiroko began: “With my joy and excitement I want to add my wishes to you. This year we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of our sixth Mother General, Janet Erskine Stuart. She was a great Educator. She was the person who also gave importance to “newness”. I feel that we are called to move into the unknown future, and outreach beyond each one’s familiar boundary to a new world. I wish those who visit this house will find new insight to life, a big welcoming spirit and a passion and zeal for the growth of people.Thank you very much.”

Kim Sook Hee followed with equally warm words of wisdom and praise. NAMASTE – Abhinandan, words that launched her into: “In the name of the Society of the Sacred Heart I am very happy and privileged to attend the opening of Prerana foundation. Congratulations to all who worked hard to arrive at this beginning. Prerana is a symbol of our Society’s commitment to its educational mission and its option for the Poor. Hiroko and I hope that all the children who come here will grow into “whole” persons, integrated, intellectually, spiritually and socially. And above all we pray that all may come to experience the tender, loving care of the Lord in their lives. Once again Congratulations – Abhinandan”.

A very nice and interesting Buffet Lunch followed and it was very welcome   as by now, it was nearly 3.p.m. At 3.45.p.m. we began seeing our guests off and by 4.30.p.m. the exodus was complete It had been a long but joyous afternoon filled with peace and gratitude for all that had gone into the commencement of PRERANA,  a new beginning with an unknown yet promising future as it enables us to dream dreams, and charter visions with unlimited horizons and hearts that have no frontiers.

Karuna Mary, rscJ

Who we are..?

We are a small, diverse and inclusive group, welcoming in our midst a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds, ages and temperaments. Primarily an educational congregation, our earliest ventures were in the field of education

Sophia College for Women in Mumbai was our first foundation in 1941, and remains the institution with which we are most often associated. The College has continued to grow in the years since then, and while some sisters continue to work there, a number have moved on into other areas of service. Today, the range includes Schools, Colleges& Nursery Schools.