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.

Sharing on the Golden Jubliee of First Vows of Livi Rodrigues at Pragnalay, Pune

BEING BLESSED THROUGH 50 YEARS, YOU HAVE BECOME IN TURN A BLESSING

This caption on the Pragnyalay community board was also in the hearts of the small group of 50 who gathered on April 6th, 2013, to celebrate with Sr. Livi Rodrigues the golden jubilee of her first Profession in the Society of the Sacred Heart. (We were mainly RSCJ, the Governing Body & Core Workgroup of TDSS, a niece/nephew representing the family, a couple of close lay friends and our community helpers.)

news_events1

The Chapel was a symphony of gold, white and green, lovingly decorated by Srs. Elizabeth and Josephine while Sr. Manisha provided the musical harmony, having practiced the tiny choir in the Society’s favorite jubilee hymns in English, Marathi and Hindi. The Jesuit concelebrants, Frs. Errol D’Lima, Francis DeSa, Kurien K, and Mani formed the entrance procession, led by two seekers and the Jubilarian, carrying gold-rimmed diyas and subtly-scented agarbatti.

At the start of the ‘Call to Worship in gratitude with and for Sr. Livi’, our Provincial Sr. Rita Pinto mentioned that “whenever things are difficult the words that spring spontaneously to Sr. Livi’s lips are: This too shall pass. In this context it is significant that her golden jubilee – April 6th, 2013 – falls on the first anniversary of her eldest brother (Teddie’s) home-going and that of his wife, Dorothy, three days later … a reminder of the transitoriness of all. So, we include them and their family in our prayer this morning.”

Reflecting “on the message of Livi’s life for us today”, Sr. Rita said that “it embodies the true expression of the feminine … reflected in her ability to nurture the whole being – both mind and heart – in her care for detail and her intuitive response to need, being consistently responsible for the development and success of others’ lives and enterprises, always there to support, to fill in, to go the extra mile.”

Among Livi’s many qualities and gifts, there were three traits that Sr. Rita especially highlighted:

  1. Loyalty to the Society: even at the toughest times and at cost to self, Livi’s concern that the interests of the Society must always be protected first; her readiness to take on a task, whenever asked, and complete it with perfection, be it in small matters as writing up a project or in greater assignments as Province delegate to a General Chapter or representing the Society at the United Nations.
  2. Deep love of ‘Sophia’: (both as Wisdom/Discernment … and the College), urging students to live the life of the mind, and being herself well-informed; having lectured in Nagpur before she entered the Society and fondly remembered as the scintillatingly academic Miss Rodrigues, with both MA/MSc degrees and the prize for the best doctoral thesis of the year at the LSE, incorporating developments to fit in with the political and economic climate of the country, like the ‘Quality Assurance’ course, in collaboration with Industry, to coincide with the process of liberalisation in the early 1990s, and at TDSS, ready to launch into areas like ‘organic farming’, which were totally new for her.
  3. Concern for the deprived in the ‘Spirit of the Beatitudes’ (the name of her probation): Touched by those suffering from material poverty, she is able to plan projects which help people stand on their own feet, encouraging them with her ‘on-site’ visits and happy to meet with them when they call on her to discuss their progress and reports.

Sr. Rita said “It is not easy to enumerate all that has been achieved during the long years of loving service that Sr. Livi has rendered in the Society. But I must mention that the leadership given by Sr. Livi at Sophia over a long span of 15 years as Principal is commendable. The vision and the dream of seeing Sophia forging along the path of value-based learning, Quality Assurance, social concern and relevance, and her commitment to upholding academic and administrative standards speak of her depth and reflectiveness, the austerity of the intellectual life and a life lived in sincerity before God.

It would seem that God saw the twin loves of her heart and called her to serve in both higher education at Sophia and then also in development work ‘with the heart of an educator’ in TDSS. Next year, God-willing, Sr. Livi will complete 15 years serving TDSS as its executive director.”

“Sr. Livi, when you look back on these fifty Golden years, I am sure you will say that they have been grace-filled. They have been an experience of a journey in faith, with more vibrancy, creativity, and constancy – a growth in faith that the Spirit is at work taking you beyond yourself to continuously seek and find ultimate courage and wisdom, unfettering your heart and readying it for bonds of collaborative effort, always sure that ‘if God calls you to it, God will see you through it’, for God walks with you.

We all know that there is a Divine dimension to our human consciousness and these years have deepened this for you. Whilst there have been problems along the way, hurdles that you have encountered, the guiding hand of the Almighty has not only kept you from harm but has blessed your efforts with success beyond imagination, making a reality of many a dream. This power of the Spirit envelops all, is available to one and all who call on the Lord in faith, humility and openness of heart.

We have every reason to be proud of you Sr. Livi. We thank God for you, for your courageous “living of the Spirit of the Beatitudes”, the name of your probation, and for the many gifts of mind, heart and hand – culinary, baking, home-making-&-keeping skills with which you have been blessed – and which you have generously offered in whichever community you have lived.

We want to wish you God’s blessings and graces for the years ahead. We extend our heart-felt gratitude to God for the whole ‘Rodrigues’ family, especially for your parents who must surely be rejoicing in Heaven, and your brothers, sister and their families. They have generously made the sacrifice of offering their daughter-sister-aunt to God’s service.

Friends, there is no better Thanksgiving prayer, than the Eucharist. So, in the name of the Society and our Province, let me warmly welcome each one of you to this celebration of worship “in thanksgiving with and for Sr. Livi on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee“, and, during this Mass, let us pray for one another and especially for our Jubilarian. May God be gracious to us and bless us.”

In his homily based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians Ch. VIII, 3-11 and Mt. Ch V, 1-9, on the Beatitudes, Fr. Errol asked “Why was Paul so passionate in his denunciation of the Judaisers (legalists) even using the epithet ‘dogs’ to refer to them?” It was because he had discovered Jesus Christ and all else was to be considered as rubbish, loss. Celebrating a Golden Jubilee of religious life is an occasion when we savour the richness of that discovery, which is not a mere static moment, but a process that takes place through the different events that make up the history of our lives and on which we build our lives.

news_events2

Jesus can be found in intellectual pursuit, in the world of the secular, in assiduous application to study and hard work in the field of academics. Sr. Livi has seen her life’s call as an invitation to the intellectual apostolate and, being no mean academic, she has excelled in her field of specialization. The greatness of her achievement lies in making her intellectual resources serve people, and in translating her discovery of Jesus into work that enhanced the status of the persons she associated with as a priority – the poor, marginalized, and destitute. Over the years she has surely enjoyed the blessings of which the Beatitudes speak. We are an Easter people and rejoice on the occasion of Sr. Livi’s golden Jubilee

After the Jubilarian had renewed her vows, the Kiss of Peace was exchanged in the traditional RSCJ way and our ‘Seekers’ raised the golden diyas in a fitting triple arati of praise and thanksgiving.

The toast was raised by Fr. Francis DeSa, SJ, Founder-Director of TDSS. He appreciated Sr. Livi’s organizational ability saying that the TDSS Governing Body meetings were smooth and efficient because the reports were always well-prepared and circulated in advance. There was freedom for discussion and clarifications were quickly dealt with. What took time was the tea before the meetings because Livi always provided special snacks which every member enjoyed.

In her response, Sr Livi said that the celebration of her silver jubilee at Sophia in 1993 was such a beautiful experience; she didn’t want anything more and never believed she would ever see 50 years. But the Society’s new method of calculating has given her the joy of celebrating her Golden jubilee with the special people at TDSS with whom she has been closely associated in the ‘Development Ministry’ during the second part of her life’s journey. This ministry has brought her into close contact with the poor peasantry, the subject of her doctoral research. Though she had researched peasant rebellions she had little personal experience of this group before she came to TDSS, an experience which she greatly cherishes. There was much to thank God for at this moment of her Golden Jubilee.

news_events3

The Jubilee cake, miraculously re-organised at extremely short notice by Sr. Karuna Mary when the first order fell through (because of Sandra’s brother’s illness) was then cut by the Jubilarian while wine (à la Jokina) and cake (à la Livi) were served and relished by all.

A ‘home-made’ agape followed, tastefully prepared by Srs. Terezita, Jokina and Livi and elegantly served in the best RSCJ tradition, delighting every one of the guests, who couldn’t believe that it was not the usual “meals-on-wheels” routinely dished out by caterers at such functions these days.

But … This too shall pass … and so it was …

By 2.30 pm all the guests had departed and the Jubilarian herself was on her way to Mumbai for Teddie and Dorothy’s first anniversary requiem Mass which was held the following day, April 7th.

It was back to ‘life as normal’ for the Pragnyalay community, though the golden glow lingers on.

Sr. Daphne Furtado

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.