A NEW VENTURE, A NEW MISSION in Odisha, India
October 8, 2013
Orissa being one of the very backward states of India especially in education and social development, we wished to begin a mission there, to empower the children and women primarily through education. We would also participate in all mission activities of the diocese. Rev. Bp. Lucas Kerketta, S.V.D, the Bishop of Sambalpur diocese was pleased about the proposal and sent us a letter of invitation in August last year to begin a mission, specifically for the ministry of education.
The Bishop directed us to a .remote parish at Deogarh, of Sambalpur diocese. The church at Deogarh is the largest parish in the diocese and has a population of about 5000 Catholics in 850 families. This is almost an all-tribal parish. Most of the people are farm workers. This will mean that our future students will be mostly first generation learners.
Our primary mission will be educating the tribal population of the area as there are no good or proper schools in Deogarh though it is the district head- quarters. The Parish church runs a school in regional language, Oria, till class 7. It also runs a pre-primary section for three years in English medium.
Fr. Johny Antony, the parish priest hopes that these children could continue their studies in our school as he has no plans of expanding beyond pre-primary classes.
Tribal areas have the tradition of children staying in the boarding houses to do their formal studies as their homes are far from the schools. So we also are expected to provide hostel facility to our students. There will be the regular day scholars too.
We will involve ourselves in the many activities of the parish, teach catechism, conduct family prayers, Bible services, prepare to receive sacraments, undertake Christian formation especially of youth and children and help build good relationships of mutual respect and concern.
Another hope for the mission is attracting vocations. The Lord has blessed us with three candidates already from Deogarh parish with the help of the parish priest.
In March 2013 we purchased and registered some land at Deogarh. This place had no particular name. So we requested the collector of the district if we could name it. He readily granted us the permission and we named it Devamatanagar, meaning ‘City of the Mother of God.’ On 14th Sept. on the feast of the Holy Cross, the foundation stone for the School building was blessed and laid. On 8 Dec.2013 the mission will begin officially at Devamatanagar.
The address of the new mission will be:
Sisters of Notre Dame
We need your support of prayers and blessings!
Sister Mary Sandhya, SND.
SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME VISITATION PROVINCE, BANGALORE