Mangaluru: 11 July 2020 was a day of counting God’s manifold blessings and recalling His accompaniment in the birth, growth and arduous journey of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, Mangalore as the congregation stepped into the 100th year of its existence. The Bethany Sisters with gratefulness take stock of their hundred years’ long journey and look forward to the future with renewed hope and joy to serve the humanity more ardently bringing the fullness of life to all especially the suffering humanity.
The Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany was founded on July 1921 by Msgr Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas, the then Parish Priest of St Sebastian Church, Bendur, Mangalore in response to the signs of the time. This Indian diocesan priest who founded the indigenous Congregation was a far-sighted visionary and missionary.
The four pioneers namely Mother Martha, Sr Clare, Sr Lourdes and Sr Gertrude were a great support to our Founder to make his dream come true. The infant Congregation soon grew into a mighty tree and the membership for Bethany increased. As the number of members increased the Founder ventured into the areas outside Mangalore and eventually the Sisters reached to all the regions of India and steadily moved to countries outside India to serve humanity across the globe. At present, the Congregation is blessed with 1388 members and 187 convents. Bethany has extended its branches in 61 dioceses of 9 countries proclaiming God’s love.
To mark the opening of the Centenary Year, a Thanksgiving Eucharist was officiated in the Main Chapel of Bethany Mother House by Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese concelebrated by Rev Fr Vincent Monteiro, the Parish Priest, Bendur and Rev Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Rector of St Aloysius Institutions.
Sr Rose Celine BS, the Superior General carried lighted candle symbolizing 100 years of life and mission of Bethany and a hundred lamps by five Sisters to the Altar of God. Sr Lillis, the Asst Superior General gave a meaningful introduction to the occasion. The Bishop mentioned in his homily the holy life led by Msgr RFC Mascarenhas, the Founder of Bethany Congregation and the Bethany Educational Society ® who being a diocesan priest, founded the Congregation to respond to the needs of the times to educate the rural poor and empower women.
After the Holy Eucharist, Sr Rose Celine BS the Superior General declared the Centenary year open and launched the Centenary Logo in the presence of Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, the Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, Fr Vincent Monteiro, Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Sr Lillis BS, Sr Shanthi Priya BS, Sr Mariette BS and Sr Lillita BS the General Councillors, Sr Jyoti the former Superior General, Sr Cicillia BS, the Provincial of Mangalore Province, Sr Cleopha BS, the Administrator and a few selected representatives representing all the provinces of Bethany Congregation. The centenary logo was well explained by Sr Philomene Saldanha BS and Sr Reena Juliet. After the unveiling of the Logo, the choir presented a melodious centenary symphony. In view of the Centenary, Bethany has launched housing project to provide deserving families, Sr Christine BS, the Procurator General handed over the key to one of the families to mark the special project of the Centenary.
Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha wished the Bethany sisters on this great occasion and recognized the contribution of Bethany to the society and the Church as its effective apostolic arm. Sr Mariette BS, the General Councillor proposed the vote of thanks and Sr Lourdes anchored the programme. We pray that God may raise the Servant of God to the honours of the altar.
Reported by Sr Lourdes BS, Bethany Mother House
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