The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo
Western province - Bangalore

Villa Borromeo, 44/1, Hennur Road, St. Thomas Town - (P.O) Bangalore – 560084

 

Pope Francis specifically addressing to young people speaks,  “To discern our personal vocation, we have to realize that it is a calling from a friend, who is Jesus. When we give something to our friends, we give them the best we have...and what makes them happy…when the Lord thinks of each of you, He sees you as his close friend. And if He plans to to grant you a grace, a charism…it will bring you more joy…because it will perfectly fit you. It will be a perfect fit for your entire life.” (Christus Vivit, 287 – 288)

MY YES TO CHRIST:   

Hi everyone, I am Sr.Pramila Almeida from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. I really feel very grateful and humbled, as I not only recount but also witness to the sacred story of God’s faithfulness in my life. Yes the journey of my Religious call wasn’t something like an overnight decision rather it was a journey of testing times with a call to trust, in the Words of the Lord who said in Jeremiah 29: 11, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope”. Today I feel so blessed, when I look at the wonderful ways God has faithfully fulfilled his plans in and through me, while inviting me to share in the Charism of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, truly a gift bestowed though undeserved.  

I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a loving catholic family, in Mangalore, with pious parents who daily knelt beside their children with arms outstretched while at family prayer; a loving grandmother who would sit on a sofa reciting Rosaries and chanting hymns, three loving brothers in whose company I grew up. I strongly believe that the seeds of my vocation to religious life were unconsciously sown here. I remember praying the Prayer for Religious Vocation as a part of family prayer invariably every day since I was in 5th grade, which continues even to this day. Little did my parents realize that God was answering their prayer by inviting their only daughter to be his own.

However one might think it must have been easy to communicate to my parents, about this calling  that I powerfully  sensed while in 10th grade. It so happened that the school had arranged special classes for students of 10th  and on one of those days there was an ordination to priesthood and a religious profession in the Parish Church. Since the school was in Church campus I along with my cousin and friends decided to miss the class and attend the religious ceremony, knowing fully well that we will have to face the consequences of our action, which we were not spared. But I strongly believe that it is in this context that I personally felt the Lord was calling me too. Yes, I was definitely confused, and equally hesitant to talk about all of this because, all the fears of a 16years old girl were still there and   being the only girl, I knew my parents had lots of dreams for my future.

I kept silent about it all, got involved in lots of  Church activities through Legion of Mary. I passed out my 10th grade, got to know my results from my friend while in Chennai holidaying with family and I saw my father making all arrangements to seek admission for my further studies.  Though I strongly felt the desire within me to pursue  my religious vocation, I did not take a chance to discuss it with my parents. I got enrolled in P.U. College by early June but one thought kept dominating most of the time, if not now then it may never happen. When these struggles kept popping up time and again, I believe God intervened. On one morning while we were at prayer, I was surprised to see two Sisters from Sisters Of St. Charles Borromeo, a Congregation unheard of then in my town. Sister narrated that the Parish priest had directed her here, but with little hopes, saying ‘She is the only daughter’. I consider this as the Kairos moment of my calling, God was working in surprising and most fulfilling ways. Yes, we sat and discussed, I expressed my decision to my parents and sensed their pain and doubts in the many excuses they placed. “What did you lack in this house, that you want to go away?” This was the first expression of my grandmother, while my father came up with an option, that I spend some days in the Convent in Mangalore, see the life of sisters before I really made it to Bangalore for formation. I agreed but with a condition that my brother accompanied me, as I had never left home alone. Yes I found myself in a convent but with my brother, and Sr.Louiza, then Superior, whose enthusiasm and passion to draw me to Jesus, I felt was much greater than my own. I guess this is one of the key experiences, that confirmed a sense of my calling and I made my choice, Yes this is where I belong. Though I didn’t fully understand then, what I was committing myself to, I know I had a sense of inner peace and hope, and courage to move on. It was very painful for me to see my parents, grandmother and brothers, all crying in the convent and I even saw my mother almost collapsing, and sisters immediately attended to her, but I was determined. While I was a novice, the Lord kept testing me again. My parents visited me unannounced, as they wanted me to discontinue my formation because my brothers also had pursued religious vocation. It was either me continuing in the novitiate or my second brother making his entry to the novitiate in a religious community. I firmly believe the Lord knew the plans he had for me and as much as I stood firm on my decision I felt the strong support of my formators who equally made every effort to convince my parents. I believe this was definitely God’s doing in my life. Most of my years as a religious, have been in the ministry of formation, accompanying the young. Trust me saying, on this path, I have witnessed the unfolding of God’s plans in most unique and marvellous ways both in my own life and in the lives of so many young girls who have pursued God’s call in the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. Like me, to some of you this Congregation might appear quite new, but it is 336 years old, with its humble beginning in Belgium in 1684. It was born in compassion for the poor, the ignorant and deprived. Today after three centuries and more, it has flourished and branched out bearing the fruits of compassion through, Education, Health care, Social, Pastoral and Youth apostolate in India, Belgium, Tanzania, Uganda, Argentina, Poland, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland,  yes across the globe.

As you hear me, do you sense a glimpse of that plan of God for you?

Are you eager to devote your life to God as an ambassador of God’s compassion?

Then I guess, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo is the perfect place where God is calling you to join hands with Him for a mission of compassion. 

 

Vocation: A Prophetic Call Contributed by Sr. Anitha Flavia Lobo A call is something you receive from God. A call is not a career. A career is something you do for yourself; a call is something you do for God. A career promises status, money or power. A call generally promises difficulty, suffering, and the opportunity to be used by God. A career may end with retirement. A call isn't over until the day you die. A career can be disrupted by any number of events; but when God calls you he enables you to fulfill your calling even in the most difficult circumstances. God calls each of us personally, by name. since God calls us by name, our response can only be from the unique individuals that we are, we respond with our own talents and abilities, our own shortcomings and limitations. As Abraham was different from Moses, Peter from Paul, Mary from Martha, so each of us is different and so is our response. We respond to God in a way that is not better or worse than others, but just uniquely different. Every call is a call to live in faith. Therefore, with faith in our loving God let us surrender our life to him. Scripture Reading: Ex 3:4-8, 10-12:4:1-5. Reflection:- when God called Moses, one of the questions he asked him was, "what is that in your hand? Moses held his shepherd's staff. It represented his livelihood: it's what he was good at. It represented his income: his flock was his wealth and his family's security. God asked him to be willing to lay it down. Today God asks us, "What is that in your hand? What has been given to you? It could be our gifts and talents, our wealth, our experience, our relationships, our education. God has given us some special human qualities called our strengths. It might include abilities like curiosity, love for learning, sound judgment, and social intelligence. It can be our capacity for kindness and the expression of mercy or the ability to bring about fairness and leadership. Or else qualities like self-control, prudence, humility, the appreciation for beauty, the expression of gratitude, the ability to hope, and the capacity for joy. We all have the capacity for each of these strengths, but a few resonate more deeply in us. They are called "signature strengths". We need to identify these, and begin to understand our calling. Sometimes we think God couldn't or wouldn't use us because of our weaknesses. No, the opposite is true. Listen to what St. Paul says, "Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, and not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God". For Paul, his weakness was never a hindrance in proclaiming Jesus, he writes to the Corinthian community, "I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me". Every call has a goal and a purpose. Our call is often connected to what troubles us deeply. For Moses it was the oppression of his people. So God used that, and called Moses to lead his people to freedom. For Dr Martin Luther king Jr. It was the injustice of a society that enslaved and oppressed African-Americans. If we want to discover our call, begin praying about what troubles us deeply. Usually we try to avoid unpleasantness, but if we have a sense that our call involves helping the poor, spend time around those in poverty. Allow our heart to be moved, carry within us the conviction that things must change, and keep praying, Lord, and make me a changed person. "Our call means God believes in us. Short pause for personal reflection: Intercessory Prayer Response: Lord, make us faithful and loyal disciples. - God has a plan for each of us. He has built in us tremendous potentials to realize this plan. May we surrender all are unique qualities and abilities at the disposal of the Lord to be used for his purpose. Resp. - All those called by God were constantly in touch with the Lord. Their deep intimacy with the Lord helped them to be faithful to their call. May all the committed youth be deeply rooted in God, and may God be their constant companion in all the events and happenings of their life. Resp. - When Jesus called his disciples, so prompt was their response that they left everything and followed him. When we know that God is inviting us for a particular task, may we too have the disposition to follow him with generosity and promptness? Resp. - Lord Jesus, we beg you to make us worthy disciples, may we faithfully follow your teaching and inspiration. In moments of weakness strengthen us. Resp. Concluding prayer: Heavenly Father, you anointed and sent your only son Jesus into the world to proclaim the good news of salvation to the people of our time. Through the ages you continue to choose and send out men and women of goodwill to carry out the same mission. May all those who are called respond generously to your invitation, modeling their life on the life of Jesus, and be true to their calling even at the cost of great sacrifice. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen. Reference: from the book of 'Come Let us Worship' by Miriam N fsp

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Sisters of St Charles Borromeo

Western Province
Villa Borromeo,
44/1, Hennur Road,
St. Thomas Town - (P.O)
P.O- Bangalore – 560084

Phone - 080 – 25473003

Email stcharlesbangalore@gmail.com

Web stcharlesbangalore.org

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