Information | Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Rev. Fr. Lester Nonis

Novitiate House at Periyamulla

Laying the foundation stone by His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Cooray

Blessing of the new building by His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Cooray | Date 25-05-1954

 

We Are Shaping The Future...........
We Are Preparing The New Generation..........

The patience of the local girls who still kept knocking at the door for entrance was when permission was granted by the Bishop of Bruges Mgr. De Smedt to start the novitiate. In 1953 Rev. Mother Hedwige the then Superior General visited the houses in Ceylon from March to July. Now that permission was granted, negotiations started for the erection for a separate novitiate house as the existing convents proved inadequate. From two or three offers a piece of land behind the Church Of Our Lady of Snows at Adnives Road, Periyamulla was purchased.

The realization of this dream was reserved for the Marian Year 1954 when the first three postulants namely Miss Genevieve Pieris, Miss Mercy Perera entered postulancy on the 17th of October This Building as well as a dispensary was made possible because of the unstinting sacrifice and the simple living of the Sisters at the Chest Hospital at Ragama, Which enabled them to save the money indeed.

Adaptation was Mutual, The Belgian Sisters had to adapt to food, language, and customs etc. and so had the local girls to adapt to them too. Having imbibed the spirit of openness to others and their needs, their availability with heart, head and hands helping wherever there was helplessness in continuous self giving without distinction of persons, the local girls also generously continued to radiate Christ’s love in human community. A strong point in their formation was that without sending the novices abroad for their training, the training was oriented to our culture. The master mind behind all this was the first Novice Mistress Mother Renata.

A dynamic spiritual figure who formed the sisters firmly though kindly. She was a mother at heart but appeared to be a disciplinarian. Her own experience of Christ was so rich and full, it caught on with each and every novice who came under her training. The novitiate programme could well be said to have been integral. Among many others, some values inculcated during this period of information were sincerity, punctuality, cleanliness, and a spirit of prayer.

“What you have done to the least of my brothers you have done to me”.

(Mathew 25/40) And so Christ’s mission continued in the apostolate of the sisters when their giftedness to serve the sick was transferred to the First Aid Post – begun in a small house which stood on the novitiate property. It all began on a very small scale with the sisters taking turns morning and evening to dress wounds and attend to minor ailments. The poor of the are found this a boon- because

Now they needn’t have travelled miles to reach the closest hospital.

Now they needn’t have spent so much money at the private medical units as they got cheaper medicine.

Now they needn’t have faced the humiliation of impoliteness as they we treated with kindness and concern.

It was not so much the techniques that won their hearts but Christ’s love they experienced.

Within a period of ten years the professed sisters numbered 15. Due to political reasons within a period of two years, 11 Belgian sisters left the country, for their homeland, after rendering yeoman service for a period 33 years. Since they gave the best of their lives, this left a void in the hearts of many who received their care and healing touch. A threatening situation for foreign sisters continued when resident visas were questioned and taxes imposed. This was a challenge for the local recruits. The time for weaning had come.........each sister was given a choice either to amalgamate with a larger congregation or to continue on our own or to leave.

These courageous persons who had tasted the flavour of the Perpetual Help Spirit unanimously opted to continue as a local congregation.

 

   
   
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